By Sean V. Lehosit
Students at Georgian Heights Elementary School were charged with excitement when their principal appeared atop the school building, holding a storybook and microphone.
Principal Rochelle Wilkerson participated in the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program on Nov. 14. Hundreds of educators nationwide dedicated an entire day to reading in hopes of winning their school library 101 copies of the eighth installment of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”
Since being launched 28 years ago, this program has reached more than 680,000 classrooms and 14 million kids. Georgian Heights staff thought participating in the principal’s challenge would continue reading efforts started earlier this year with Read for the Record.
Wilkerson said the program encourages children to read and demonstrates the importance of making it a priority. Traveling from classrooms, to the cafeteria and then the roof symbolized reading can take you all kinds of places, she said.
“We know strong literacy skills can enhance student achievement in all academic areas. However for me, it’s more about helping students realize the joy of reading and just getting lost in a good book,” she said.
The basket of texts Wilkerson carried from room-to-room included a picture book about jazz musician Duke Ellington and a Native American spin on the Cinderella story. Students were prompted to answer questions during the story to develop critical thinking skills.
“Because I want you all to be balanced readers, we need a balance of fiction and non-fiction,” Wilkerson said.
Students erupted in cheers when they learned the reading selection for Wilkerson’s roof performance. She read, “An Otis Christmas,” which was a connection to a reading initiative earlier in the year.
“Our building celebrated Read for the Record last month by producing an interactive read aloud of the book, ‘Otis,’ written by Loren Long. The staff acted out the book complete with costumes, props and a guest reader,” she said.
The winning school will be notified by Dec. 3.