Wild about reading

REED CITY — Each year in the month of March, schools across America celebrate the birthday of a very special author.

Dr. Suess brought many wonderful stories into our lives, including "Fox in Socks," "The Lorax" and "One Fish, Two Fish." The celebration lasts all month long as March is known as National Reading Month.

G.T. Norman Elementary School joined in with a fun filled schedule of events. The theme this year was Wild About Reading. Trivia questions about wild animals started out each day and prizes were given to randomly selected winners that had the correct answers. Classrooms in each grade level selected a specific habitat and its animals. Hallways were decorated like a jungle, the deep ocean, a rain forest, Antarctica and the woodlands.

In the beginning of the month, students were also given a challenge to read a total of 20,000 books for a reward at the final assembly. But Principal Deanna Goodman didn’t offer just any simple reward. In the spirit of the wacky and colorful Dr. Suess, she offered a reward so crazy the students couldn’t resist. If the goal was met, each and every student would be able to duck tape her to the gym wall.

The challenge was on. Students worked hard in school and at home to read as many books as they could. Totals added up week after week and each student could see their progress on tally sheets in the hallways.

When the end of the month assembly finally arrived, students were excited to know if they had met the schools goal. Assistant Principal Rob Nista wrote down all the totals, which were still rough estimates, from each grade on a large board for the students to see. They eagerly helped him add them to get a final total. There was a huge sigh as they heard the number 19,999.

Goodman cheered as she thought she was off the hook, but Nista had a plan.

“Wait! I haven’t read my most favorite book. If I do, then we’ll meet the goal,” he said.

The students cheered and assisted in reading Dr. Suess’ book, "The Foot Book." With that final book, the reward was earned and students lined up to duck tape their principal to the wall. More than 600 students, and even some teachers, carefully placed their piece of tape to hold her tight. The final surprise was when the step stool was removed. Goodman actually hung on the wall for several minutes.

Following the assembly, official numbers revealed the students had read 24,000 books.