Students read to raise money for new playground

Thursday, January 27, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 5:48 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Jordan Crane, a third-grader at Cedar Ridge Elementary, spent Friday enjoying one of his favorite books — in his pajamas. He was right on task.

Students showed up in nightgowns and flannels that morning to participate in the school’s sixth annual all-day read-a-thon raising money for a new playground.

At the end of the day, children went home to collect pledges for 200 minutes of reading. Students have until Friday to collect their pledges and return them to school. Parents and former teachers, along with Mary Laffey, Columbia schools director of human resources and Megan Murphy, KOMU/Channel 8 anchor, read aloud to classrooms to help them meet their goal.

Principal Barbara Stratton said she hopes the read-a-thon will bring in $3,000, adding to the $13,000 already raised. With read-a-thon profits and those from a coupon-selling effort this March, Stratton expects to install a $16,000 playground over the summer. The school plans to replace its splintering wooden model with a safer, more modern structure.

Stratton said the read-a-thon is the school’s preferred method of fund raising because it supports student learning and is simple, but effective.

“You name it, we’ve sold it,” she said. “Through the read-a-thon, whatever profit you make is 100 percent pure profit. There’s no product to sort or order. So we really like the idea.”

Crane said he liked it, too.

“I had a pretty good day of reading,” he said. “I learned a whole lot of stuff out of the books.”

He might get even more enjoyment out of the experience. The class that turns in the most pledge money by Friday’s deadline will have a bowling party, and the class with the most participation will have a pizza party for lunch.

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