Larson Heights, North face off in reading contest

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MOSES LAKE — You can read at home or in Rome. In the Boys and Girls Club or with a bear cub. In a car or with a jar.

But if you’re a student at North or Larson Heights elementary schools, you just can’t read in class. Not if you want to win the reading contest the two schools are having this month.

“It’s the March reading challenge,” said Larson Heights principal Karen Schotzko. “At home, every night, the kids can do any of the 16 challenges.”

The challenges, which are paid out like a bingo card, include “read with a silly voice,” “read with a hat on” and “read with mittens on.”

“It’s a fun, innovative way to say reading is important,” said Kelly Fredrick, the principal of North Elementary. “It’s a fun competition, and it’s all for a good cause.”

It wouldn’t be a contest without something to wager, however. According to both principals, the school with the highest percentage of their students who turn in the reading challenge scorecard by March 27 wins “a bag of treats.”

But that’s not all. The principal of the losing school has to serve lunch to the winning school while wearing a sign that says the winning school and its principal “are superior.”

“The stakes are high,” Schotzko said.

“The losing principal has to wear a sign of disgrace,” Fredrick said.

“That was Kelly’s idea, not mine,” Schotzko said. “It’s all hers.”

While no date has been set for the vanquished serving lunch to the victorious school, both principals said it would be “sometime after spring break,” which is the first week of April.

To help kids meet their goal, Schotzko has a YouTube channel where she reads bedtime stories — picture books — to kids every weekday evening, as well as a chapter each night from Louis Sachar’s novel “Holes,” the story of a teenage boy named Stanley who winds up in juvenile correction center in the Texas desert after being falsely accused of theft.

“Sometimes, students might not have access to books at home,” Schotzko said. “It’s a way to see we don’t live at school, that we read at home, and have fun.”

Both principals hope that the competition will spur their kids to read, and know that reading isn’t just something they in class as part of their schoolwork.

“It’s open to all students,” Fredrick said, including North’s kindergartners. “We’re building up excitement for reading outside of school.”

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached via email at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com.

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