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1950s fashion — complete with poodle skirt — accompanied the reading hour Thursday. Information Specialist Jennifer Smith is the organizer of the Rock ’n’ Roll Read-A-Thon at Sullivans Elementary School this month. The event focuses on the 1950s when rock ’n’ roll was born.
1950s fashion — complete with poodle skirt — accompanied the reading hour Thursday. Information Specialist Jennifer Smith is the organizer of the Rock ’n’ Roll Read-A-Thon at Sullivans Elementary School this month. The event focuses on the 1950s when rock ’n’ roll was born. (Allison Batdorff / S&S)
1950s fashion — complete with poodle skirt — accompanied the reading hour Thursday. Information Specialist Jennifer Smith is the organizer of the Rock ’n’ Roll Read-A-Thon at Sullivans Elementary School this month. The event focuses on the 1950s when rock ’n’ roll was born.
1950s fashion — complete with poodle skirt — accompanied the reading hour Thursday. Information Specialist Jennifer Smith is the organizer of the Rock ’n’ Roll Read-A-Thon at Sullivans Elementary School this month. The event focuses on the 1950s when rock ’n’ roll was born. (Allison Batdorff / S&S)
Elvis put in an appearance at Sullivans Elementary School Tuesday to kick off the Rock n' Roll Read-A-Thon.
Elvis put in an appearance at Sullivans Elementary School Tuesday to kick off the Rock n' Roll Read-A-Thon. (Photo courtesy of Audrey Cooper Bruning)

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — It’s one for the money. Two for the show. Three to get ready … and Elvis’ newest — and possibly shortest — fans rush the King like a gaggle of gooey-eyed teenagers.

Elvis lives — well, at least he put in an appearance this week at the Sullivans Elementary School library to kick off the school’s first Rock ’n’ Roll Read-A-Thon.

For the next two weeks, Sullivans’ students are digging into the 1950s, when rock ’n’ roll was born.

Sure, it’s a gimmick, says Sullivans Information Specialist Barbara Bowman. But it works.

“Every book on rock ’n’ roll we had was checked out this week,” Bowman said. “Now we’re pulling books set in the 1950s.”

Many of the 1,200 Sullivans students are accepting pledges for the reading they do between now and Feb. 28. The money will bulk up the library’s biography section, which “needs it,” Bowman said. But the main goal is to get kids into the library and excited about reading and rock ’n’ roll.

Most youngsters — pre-kindergarten through fifth grade — are utterly unfamiliar with the 1950s, said Information Specialist Jennifer Smith. So she’s teaching them songs like “Rockin’ Robin” and talking about musicians like Elvis, Chuck Berry and Fats Domino.

Students are learning to hula-hoop in gym class and poodle skirts and saddle shoes will be donned Feb. 24 at a schoolwide dress-up day.

Kids seem especially interested in the funny-looking rolled pant legs and ducktail hairdos, Bowman said.

And even though Elvis may have left the building after Tuesday’s performance, the teachers hope the students’ appreciation for rock ’n’ roll and reading is staying put.

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