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Principal honors deal, kisses pig

June 04, 1999|By ERIN HEATH

FUNKSTOWN - Funkstown Elementary School Principal Rose Pellegrino would do almost anything to motivate her students to read.

Even kiss a pig.

For three months, third-, fourth- and fifth-graders at Funkstown read books with a goal of earning at least 1,000 points. Students managed to earn 1,037 points by their May 28 deadline.

On Friday, they gathered outside of the school to see the payoff for their hard work - watching their principal kiss a pig from Ivy Hill Farm in Smithsburg.

The smooch was the culmination of the Accelerated Reader program, which began in the school March 2.

Accelerated Reader is a computerized program designed to encourage students to read, according to Dena Rodgers, a fourth-grade teacher who served as the program coordinator. It allows students to choose their own books to read and then tests them on their comprehension. When the students pass the tests, they earn points based on the book's level of difficulty.

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The program stores comprehension tests for more than 22,000 books, Rodgers said. It also tallies individual and class scores so students and teachers can keep track of points.

Students benefit from the program, Rodgers said, because "they will truly have to read and understand what they read."

Students said they read books about pigs and made posters of pigs to put on the walls. Pellegrino received numerous items of clothing - including a hat, T-shirt, slippers, a tie and a hand-made necklace - to go along with the pig theme. Pellegrino even appeared on the morning announcements dressed in her pig outfit.

All of this was done, Pellegrino said, to get the students excited about reading. Next year the program will run all year and will involve students in grades two through five.

And even though the program has ended this year, Pellegrino said the students are still excited about reading.

"Kids are still reading and telling me how many points they've accumulated," she said.

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