Reading celebrated with ice cream

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It’s what every kid dreams of — smearing their principal in the face with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

And for a few very lucky Federal Heights Elementary students, their dream came true during a reading celebration assembly on April 5.

Students and teachers were celebrating reaching their goal of reading more than 350,000 minutes. The reward was making principal Ron Salazar a human ice cream sundae.

Students in grades kindergarten to second grade had the task of reading 20 minutes a day outside of school and students in third, fourth and fifth grade had to read 30 minutes a day outside of school.

Teachers Mindy Diaz and Heather Murphy were the visionaries behind the reading undertaking. Both simply wanted to improve their students reading skills, but in a fun way.

“We wanted to motivate the kids to read so we created an incentive program,” Diaz said. “It was a way to make reading fun for our kids and try to get our reading scores up and make sure they are reading every day.”

Murphy said for the older students, the fact that they had a reward to work for helped them read more. But also the positive feedback they received from teachers was a good motivator.

“Students are always wanting the human nature thing of being recognized for doing something good, whether it was above and beyond or status quo or just improvement,” she said. “They need that recognition just as much as adults do.”

Although Salazar left the gymnasium covered with all the yummy toppings of a sundae, he was a great sport about it. He did mention it was worse than he thought it would be, but praised the students by telling them how proud he was for their achievement.

“The focus in our building is literacy, so anything I can to do promote reading I’ll do it,” he said. “I’m really proud of the students’ hard, rigorous work to complete over 350,000 hours of reading.”

All of the students and teachers were also rewarded with their accomplishment with an ice cream party at the end of the day.