CLEARWATER — Clearwater Elementary School held its fourth annual Book Character Parade on Thursday.

Hundreds of elementary school students could be seen marching down the street on Thursday wearing costumes from their favorite book characters.

“I'm a spider from 'The Very Busy Spider,'” said Clearwater student Ariel Eubanks. “My favorite part is when the spider made the web and went to everybody's house and ate their food.”

Issac Carmona, another Clearwater student, carried his favorite book, “Firefighters to the Rescue,” during the parade.

“My favorite part is where it says 'sleepyhead.' I like that part,” Carmona said.

Police and fire truck escorts assisted by steering the parade along Highway 421 and around Stadium Circle.

“The kids are so excited, and it's our way of encouraging everyone to open a book and read,” said fourth-grade teacher Kelly Schultz, who was also the Character Parade chairperson. “This is one of the ways we do that, and they get to share the experience with their parents who line up on the side of the street and watch the parade.”

Several popular characters throughout the parade included Spiderman, Ironman, spiders, firefighters and various other characters.

Clearwater Elementary Principal Trey Laube felt the children had fun and also that they understood the importance of reading.

“It gives us a chance to let kids read the books and express a character in the book,” Laube said. “By doing that, it encourages other students to read other books. And that's the whole point of the parade. It's all tied in to the literacy of our school.”

Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard news team and joined the paper in June. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga. He graduated from Georgia Southern University with a journalism degree in May 2012.