PROVIDENCE, Utah — Come rain or shine, Providence Elementary students were ready to celebrate their achievements in reading this year while the Logan City Fire Department put its firehose to work, spraying water into the air for children’s enjoyment.
Kim Mills, a second-grade teacher at Providence Elementary, has worked to organize the “reading counts” initiative and has included different incentives throughout the school year.
“The reason why I wanted to make this a great exhibition and let the community know about it is because this is a celebration of hard work, perseverance and a great achievement for our students,” Mills said. “Reading Counts is the program we use to actually practice reading, but it’s more of a way to get kids motivated.”
Dozens of students came to school in the rain wearing shorts and carrying their beach towels. The weather didn’t detract from their mood as they had been looking forward all year to play in the water.
At 1:45 p.m., students from first to sixth grade ran outside onto the lawn where even Providence Mayor John Drew was waiting to celebrate their achievements.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Drew said, donning a brown-and-yellow firefighter’s outfit and hardhat. He sprayed the water over the students in delight.
To qualify for the activity, students read books by themselves or with an adult and then took a 10-question quiz for each book that measured their reading comprehension. They even get to tell their opinion on what they read. After they pass these tests — if not on the first try they are given two more chances — they accumulate points based on the reading level for that book.
“My daughter was at a basketball camp with Jaycee Carroll once and he said, ‘I take 200 freethrows every day because the more you practice the better you are at that thing,’ and that’s what we are telling our students about reading,” Mills said.
Each grade has different point levels they need to meet to reach the various incentives. The lowest incentives are a pencil and a cookie, then the “Rock the Halls” day where the principal cheers on the students as they run through the halls. Students can even earn a lunch with their teacher for one month.
The firehose day and an Oreo dance party are the grand prize of the program, and sixth graders had to reach as many as 420 points by May 3 to qualify.
“It’s a great opportunity to reward and celebrate our kids and teach them to persevere and reach their goals,” Mills said. “When you have a principal as supportive as ours, things like this just turn out so awesome.”