DOWNEY - Inspired and motivated by Warren cheerleaders to meet a goal of 90,000 days of reading for the Read At Home (RAH) program, Gallatin Elementary students ended their "Celebrate Reading Week" with a grand finale.An additional 5,000 days of reading from last year's goal of 85,000 days led to an increase in the effort made to motivate the students attending Gallatin. This includes the invitation of admired figures so as to help rouse excitement for this year's program. "Younger students always look up to older students as role models so we thought we'd have them come out and encourage the kids," said Gallatin principal Rani Bertsch. "So today, when we had an assembly, we had the cheerleaders start with a cheer. The kids were really pumped up and motivated." Warren cheerleaders were invited to cheer and provide a speech so as to encourage students to read at home daily, with 20 minutes counting as a day. The events held during Celebrate Reading Week, which also consisted of other activities related to literature such as a Books & Burgers night and a week-long book fair, ended with a connection between high school and elementary students. "This year we're really going to (partner) up with the cheerleaders' environment and, at Gallatin, we just feel that reading at home is important to follow up with reading at school and with kids going to the libraries," said Gallatin resource specialist Regina Donahue. "We want to emphasize going to the library." It would seem that this event was a win-win situation for both the cheerleaders and students of Gallatin. Students of Gallatin repeatedly asked their teachers whether the Warren cheerleaders would revisit while the cheerleaders, not knowing to what extent their performance had affected the elementary kids, in turn asked whether they could be allowed back so as to ensure that the kids are meeting their milestone and reading almost every day. It appears that not only the students of Gallatin reaped some benefits from this event. "A big thank you to Gallatin Elementary school for asking us to help out with their great program," said Michelle Page, Warren cheerleader who made a motivational speech at the assembly. "Without them, we wouldn't have learned how much they look up to us, and we wouldn't have had that opportunity to stand there and be like 'yeah, reading is great! Take pride in learning!', taking the stereotype of a cheerleader and inspiring kids to go out and read a book now and then, and to read books every day."
********** Published: October 2, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 24