Over 700 kindergarten, first and second graders at Grand Prairie Elementary School excitedly filed into the gym to discover whether they had reached their goal of reading 4,300 hours in one month. Teachers were tallying up the totals as the students took their places at the assembly. The children were hoping they made their goal because it would mean that Principal Eileen Nelson would have to keep her promise to kiss a pig. Earlier in the month, students had voted on how they would celebrate if they met their reading goals. Choosing from whether Mrs. Nelson would kiss a real pig, dress like a character from a book, dye her hair pink or wear her clothes inside out, students overwhelmingly voted for the pig kissing!
The all-school literacy incentive program highlighted the book, “Charlotte’s Web” and was organized by Reading Interventionists Pam Snyder and Kathy Miller. Guest readers from the school and community helped kick off the celebration. They included Village of Frankfort Mayor Jim Holland, Fireman Dennis Merz, Frankfort Police Chief John Burica, Chamber of Commerce Representative Karen Blake, Frankfort Library Representative Laura Maritsauski and Frankfort School Bus Driver Carol Golembiewski. District 157-C readers included Superintendent Dr. Tom Hurlburt, Director of Technology Jake Nelson, Curriculum Consultant Kellie Doubek, Principal Eileen Nelson, Assistant Principal Sharon Nepote and teacher Barb Campbell.
To reach the goal of reading 4,300 hours during the one month period, all kindergarten students were asked to read 45 minutes, first graders 90 minutes and second graders 120 minutes each week. Along with the reading goal, students also worked on vocabulary and learned about farm animals, spiders and character development as they read the book. During music classes, the children sang songs about friendship.
At the assembly, an announcement was made that the students had reached the reading goal. The students were thrilled when a small black and pink pig was carried out by the Will County Farm Bureau’s Paul Bernhard. They watched with delight as Mrs. Nelson kissed the pig as promised. Students continued the celebration in their physical education classes with activities featuring the “Charlotte’s Web” theme.
Programs to encourage reading are conducted at all three District 157-C schools. The district’s Education Foundation supports these reading programs through their annual grant funding and the Family School Partnership organization holds an annual book fair.