Volunteers cheered and gave high fives as first graders from the school district climbed steps to the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest.
First graders were attending the third annual Gift of Literacy day in Lebanon.
The event was started by John Jorgensen in Wyoming to honor his late wife Sue.
“It was his vision and his passion for reading that made this possible, said Lebanon Community District Superintendent Rob Hess, who led the event. He went by ‘Captain Rob’ for the day.
“I hate to tell you this, but you’re going to have a lot of fun today,” Hess said as the students filled a lecture hall.
Jorgensen, who flew in for the event, told the students a story about the Good Queen Sue. In that story there was a grinch who wanted to destroy books because he couldn’t read them.
Jorgensen said if the student repeated the phrase “Sniggeldy snee, we want to read,” it would melt the grinch’s icy heart.
The students repeated “Sniggeldy snee, we want to read,” three times. They yelled the phrase the last time.
“The grinch blinked his eyes twice, and your magic spell taught him to read,” Jorgenson hollered. “If you can read you can do anything you want to.”
Jorgensen said the students may be able to use that magic spell to convince their parents to let them stay up later that night.
“I bet if you whisper ‘Sniggeldy snee, I want to read’ in their ears tonight they’ll let you keep the light on an extra five minutes.”
Smiles filled the room as each student opened a bag, which contained an American flag, and a book they requested.
Students took those books and headed to a conference room where volunteers read the new books.
Volunteers from the Lebanon Fire District helped complete the day
Contact reporter Matt DeBow at 541-259-3126 or via email at Matt.DeBow@lee.net.