Reading for the gold

The actual 2014 Winter Olympics are half a world away in Russia, but the fever for the games has spread far and wide, specifically to the students at Roosevelt Elementary School in Minot.

According to Caleen Larson, one of the paraprofessionals at Roosevelt Elementary School, February is reading month and each year a theme is picked. This year, the theme is the Winter Olympics, “Go for the Gold- Read,” she added, and will do all kinds of activities for reading month, including having guests come to classrooms and read to students and holding their own opening ceremonies for the Olympic games.

“We want kids to read,” Larson said.

Also during the reading month, students will turn in slips with their minutes of reading recorded and number of pages read and the school librarian will move their little “bobsled” forward.

Monday afternoon, students and staff at Roosevelt held their own opening ceremonies for the upcoming Winter Olympics in the gymnasium to fit with the theme of reading month. There was a parade of flags for some of the countries represented, the teachers performed a dance for the event and a created bobsled was wheeled in to light the torch.

Scott Kittell, who served as the master of ceremonies, offered pieces of trivia for each country as they were announced for the parade.

“We thought we should have an opening ceremony for the Olympics,” Larson said. “Kids love to see teachers do crazy things.”

Students in each classroom at Roosevelt chose a country they wanted to represent and waved their own construction paper flags during the ceremony. Countries chosen by the students included Norway, Sweden, Russia, Germany, Austria, China, France and Canada. All of the students will follow the United States in the Winter Olympics, Larson said, but the teachers thought it would be good to represent other countries as well. Teachers and students will follow their selected country’s medal count in the Olympics each day, she added.

While there won’t be any specific awards given for the winning countries in the actual Winter Olympics, Larson said prizes will be awarded to students who have read the most. Kids have to read every week during the month of February, she added.

Larson said teachers will do corresponding activities with the Winter Olympics to tie them in with the theme for the month. In addition to activities associated with the Olympics, students will also participate in “D.E.A.R.,” or “Drop Everything and Read,” a class-wide school reading game based on bingo and teachers have chosen their favorite book and decorated their classroom door to match their favorite book. Also, Minot State University hockey team players and a local figure skater will come in and read to the students.

On Feb. 28, Roosevelt students and staff will hold an event for the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics and for the school’s reading month, but Larson said the teachers and staff have not yet decided what kind of activities will take place.

“We are pumped up,” Larson said, about the school’s assembly and for the Winter Olympics. “We are ready for the games to begin.”