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Community: Over 4 Million Pages Read Through PUBAR in 2011-12

by Gabby Pinto / Carolina Hurricanes

"You have to follow your dreams." "Family is the most important thing in life." "It is better for you to accept the change then to deny the change all your life." "A Tyrannosaurus Rex has an amazing sense of smell and a very small brain."

Gabby Pinto

No, these are not my random thoughts for the day. These quotes are real lessons and facts learned by third through fifth graders that participated in the Pick Up a Book and Read essay contest.

Ten students were recognized at the Pick Up a Book and Read Essay Recognition Luncheon for their excellence in writing an essay on a book that they read. The students were invited along with their parents and teachers to PNC Arena on May 7th for a lunch filled with pizza, cupcakes and Eric Staal. After the students were recognized as the top ten in the contest – with a special certificate, Jamie McBain bobblehead and a picture with Stormy – Staal took the floor for a Q&A with the kids. Some of my favorite questions were: "How do you feel when playing in front of millions of people?" "When did you first start playing hockey?" "What is your favorite book?"

He stressed the importance of reading to learn and develop the skills necessary to be successful in school and other facets of life.

After lunch, the top five students read their essays to an engaged crowd. The essay contest requires each student to choose a book they read and provide a brief summary, state what he/she liked best and least about the book and what lessons he/she learned. The essays are submitted by their teachers and graded by a committee of Hurricanes staff.

The essay contest is an optional portion of the Hurricanes’ Pick Up a Book and Read incentive reading program. Each season, teachers can register their classes and encourage and support their students to read and keep track of their pages read over a six-week period. During the 2011-2012 season, 3,200 students from 61 schools around North Carolina read over 4 million pages! We are ecstatic to see continued growth each year and expect to expand the program into more schools.

We are wrapping up Pick Up a Book and Read by awarding the top three schools with an assembly that includes a visit from Stormy, trivia questions and equipment relay races. Penny Road Elementary had their assembly April 26th and we will be visiting Davis Drive Elementary and Leesville Elementary next week.

Be on the look-out for videos from the assemblies and more information to come about next year’s program. Never underestimate the lessons that the kids in our community are learning from reading and continue to encourage each child to read during the summer. Read on, kids!

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