Readers send principal to roof

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Brandywine Elementary recently encouraged students to read with a creative program that included an extra incentive to send their principal to the roof for a day.
The original program called "Read Around the World" was created by teachers Jennifer Miller and Carol Christner and if the program garnered over 100 participants, principal Gary Spiess agreed to spend an entire school day on the roof.
With 128 Brandywine students involved, the school had more than enough and Spiess was sent to the roof all day last Friday.
Spiess, who brought a small desk, a laptop and a radio on the roof with him, said it was a fun way to promote reading and that he was even able to get a little work done atop the school.
The "Read Around the World" program was a voluntary program created to promote reading throughout the month of March, which is Reading Month.
She said parents would come in and tell her how surprised they were to find their kids actually reading on their own at home instead of watching TV or playing video games.
Each participant was given a passport booklet and were then awarded a sticker of a different country for every reading requirement that they fulfilled.
There were 28 classes involved including the office, the kitchen and the maintenance staff and each of the different stations represented a different country.
All of the teachers set up different quotas for their students to meet in order to qualify for a passport sticker. Some of the quotas included reading 25 pages, reading an entire chapter or just reading a picture book for some of the younger kids.
Miller said the requirements set by the teachers were based on the grade and ability levels of their classes.
When a quota was met, the students were allowed to travel to one of the 28 stations to collect a sticker for their passport. The school had about 70 students completely fill their passports.
Miller's class chose Egypt and the students have been learning about things like hieroglyphics and the ancient Egyptian gods.
Another part of the program that helped to stress the importance of reading came when the school invited a number of community leaders to come in and read to the classes.
Some of the readers included State Sen. Ron Jelinek, R-Three Oaks, former Brandywine Elementary principal Melba Ross, interim superintendent Gary Campbell, Brandywine finance director Gus Damaske and some Brandywine High School athletes.
Spiess said the school will continue to come up with different ideas to help students to realize that reading is fun.

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