Educators from all over the nation are looking for new and inventive ways to get their students to read more. Appalachian School is no exception. Marlana Matthews, reading specialist for the K-12 school, was looking for a fun, innovative way to get all the students to read.
Matthews set up a reading challenge for the entire school. If the students could read 75,000 pages during the first two weeks of December, they would get a rather unusual reward. First, the entire school would receive a popcorn party, but the best part is principal Jonathan Cleveland and assistant principal Curtis Atkinson agreed to kiss a pig in front of the entire student body.
Last Thursday, all the students were called to the gym for a reading pep rally. Unfortunately, the students did not read 75,000 pages. Instead, they read an incredible 127,223 pages! Cheerleaders led students in reading cheers. Then, Willow the pig, made her big entrance.Principal Cleveland (above, left) hammed it up by generously applying Chapstick before kissing the pig. Atkinson (above), kissed the pig too. The student body went wild. They were so excited that their principals would care so much about them reading that they would voluntarily kiss a pig.
“I even had parents tell me that their kids continued reading over the holidays,” said school librarian Charity Cleveland.
While this is one of the more unique ways to get students to read, Appalachian isn’t stopping there. Matthews and the staff are planning something big for the spring. They haven’t exactly nailed down what they’re going to do, but you can bet it will be different and exciting.