Principal Evelyn Allred knows that reading is serious. But that's no reason it can't be fun.
"We want to celebrate reading and show there's more you can do with reading than sitting in front of a book," she said.
At the culmination of Read Across America week, Empire Elementary School hosted a family reading night Thursday and invited guest readers to the school Friday.
About 200 students and their families attended the Evening in the Jungle activity night.
"I'm so pleased with the turnout," Allred said. "We hope that by doing this, the parents can see the true value of reading."
Students received points for each activity they attended, which included games such as a Dr. Seuss cake walk. Points also were awarded for stories read in two rooms - one of which had been transformed into an ice cave and the other into a jungle.
Prizes were awarded for the number of points collected.
"I like that we get free stuff here, like pencils," said Brandon Ledford, 11.
Animals from the Sierra Safari Zoo in Reno also were on display.
"I liked seeing the snake and the monkey," said Janae Angel, 11. "It was funny to see the monkey eat a banana. He swallowed it really fast."
Victor Canedo, 12, has moved on to Eagle Valley Middle School, but said he likes to set a good example for his younger brother and sister who are enrolled at Empire.
"I like to read action or adventure books," he said. "When your little brothers and sisters see you, they can get inspired by it."
Among the guest readers Thursday evening were Carson City School Board Trustees Stacie Wilke and Lynette Conrad. Mayor Bob Crowell and Nevada's first lady, Kathleen Sandoval, were among those who read Friday morning.
Reno social worker Norm Enlow also participated.
"It's interesting to get kids thinking about books and to find things that connect to them," he said.
Fifth-grader Jonathan, 10, said the event created a sense of unity among students and their families.
"Everyone is enjoying themselves," he said. "No one is being mean. Just everyone is having fun."