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Fountain Rock students participate in reading program

June 19, 2006

WILLIAMSPORT - "Yogi Rocks!" was one of the comments that could be heard by the 350 children from Fountain Rock Elementary School who participated May 31 in the 2005-2006 Reading Incentive Program at Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park.

The program started in October 2005 with a presentation by the school staff, members of the Fountain Rock PTA and the management of Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park.

Each student received a Yogi Bear bag that included a folder that was donated by St. James Church of the Brethren with calendars to record reading times, pencils, highlighters and treats that Yogi Bear passed out at the assembly.

The program helped encourage students to read. Beginning in November, students read each week and recorded their times on their reading folder calendars. Parents signed and verified their child's folder, double checking their reading time. Every Monday, the folders were returned to school, and volunteers checked each child's participation. The program continued into May.

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In order to receive rewards, students were required to read outside of school from at least 60 minutes per week for kindergarten students to 120 minutes per week for fourth- and fifth-grade students.

Among the rewards was a day trip to Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park, where activities included hayrides, miniature golf and a moon bounce.

Ron Vitkun, owner of Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park, said parents told him the program turned their children into readers.

"Their children were not hooked on reading until the start of this Reading Incentive Program," Vitkun said. "They wanted to visit Yogi Bear for the day so badly that they started to read, and they found out that they really liked reading."

The students also received a class picture of themselves with Yogi Bear, Boo-Boo and Cindy Bear donated by Fujicolor Processing.

The Fountain Rock PTA and Frito-Lay also were instrumental in the program.

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