Mill Creek students read for cash

Students are offered books and extra recess as incentives to read more often.
Thursday, September 30, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:55 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 7, 2008

The goal: $10,000.

That’s how much students at Mill Creek Elementary hope to raise for their school. They won’t be reaching it by selling wrapping paper or candy. Instead, they hope to raise it by reading.

On Friday, Mill Creek students will hold their sixth annual read-a-thon, raising money by taking pledges from family and friends.

The more minutes the students read, the more money they will raise for a “special projects fund.”

“How can you go wrong?” said Lisa Hathaway, the chairwoman of the event. “It’s 100 percent profit and you encourage your kids to read.”

Principal Terri Martin said the special fund would pay for an outside speaker to visit the school and promote children’s writing. Money from past fund-raisers has been used for technology equipment, the playground and an outdoor classroom.

This year, the fund-raiser has an Olympic theme: “Go for the Gold.” Students will be given three hours during the day to read. Classes will be given rewards based on participation, rather than the amount of money raised.

Martin said this is the first year Mill Creek is offering incentives to the 700 students who attend the school. She said the incentives, which include books and 10 extra minutes of recess time, try to promote a healthy educational environment.

Hathaway’s son, Jacob Schmidt, said he is excited and hopes his third-grade class will be rewarded with extra recess time.

“We get to read all day and I like to read a lot,” Jacob said.

Linda Fentress, a member of the read-a-thon committee, said she is proud of Mill Creek and the program.

“It helps promote educational goals,” she said.

Fentress said her sons, Mark, a second-grader, and Michael, a fifth-grader, are looking forward to the event. Martin said teachers can read to younger students and there will be guest readers in classrooms, including parents.

Martin said the school conducted a survey last year to get feedback from parents. She said support for the program to continue was overwhelming, likely because the fund-raiser has an academic tie-in and does not force kids to sell door-to-door.

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