Kelcy Nagel, a fourth grade student at Fillmore Central, was the first to complete her reading goal for the "I Love to Read Month" challenge. She read 400 pages in just under a week.  SUBMITTED PHOTO
Kelcy Nagel, a fourth grade student at Fillmore Central, was the first to complete her reading goal for the "I Love to Read Month" challenge. She read 400 pages in just under a week. SUBMITTED PHOTO
This month is "I Love to Read" month for both the Lanesboro and Fillmore Central Schools. Though both schools have the same theme, each has a distinct set of activities to mark each week of the month.

In honor of the 2014 Winter Olympics, the theme this year has to do with the Olympics and winning the gold medal.

Lanesboro

Lanesboro Elementary has several goals for its students. For those who are in kindergarten through second grade, the goal is to read 20 minutes for the night either with or without someone else. The students in third to sixth grade must complete 30 minutes of reading per night.

Each student will be keeping a log of the time they have spent reading. Each Monday, the students submit the log to the teachers who will add their minutes on the "Read to Succeed" poster. The students who read the most for the month will receive a gold medal at the closing ceremony on Friday, March 7.

The special activities held in Lanesboro began last week, on Friday, Feb. 7. There was an opening ceremony during the school's family time. Each class will be given a banner that will be decorated throughout the month to represent their reading. Each class will also buddy up with another class to share their favorite books.

On Friday, Feb. 14, teachers will swap classes and will read aloud books they love to another class.

Friday, Feb. 21, each person will wear red, white, and blue to support team U.S.A. as they drop everything to do an all-elementary read-in.

On Monday, Feb. 24, special guest Greg Olsen, will visit Lanesboro Elementary to share some interesting facts he learned through books about birds.

That Friday, Feb. 28, the school will host "Books for Breakfast," beginning at 7:15 in the elementary library. All students, in grades kindergarten through sixth, and their parents are invited to come in for breakfast and books. Milk, juice, coffee and rolls will be served along with a variety of books for students and parents to choose from and read together.

Finally on Friday, March 7, a closing ceremony will be held as a finale to the month-long reading celebration. Each class will present their finished banner and receive their medals.

Fillmore Central

Similarly, Fillmore Central Elementary School is also participating in an Olympic games theme. Rather than an activity on Friday, each Wednesday will be a special dress-up day for the students. On Feb. 5, the style was sports. On Feb. 12, the kids dressed up in a comfy style.

Each grade has its own country to follow during the Sochi Olympics. As such, they will dress up in the colors of their assigned country on Feb. 19. The countries assigned to each grade are China for kindergarten, Norway for first grade, Canada for second grade, Austria for third grade, Germany for fourth grade, Switzerland for fifth grade and Sweden for sixth grade.

Throughout the Sochi Olympics, each grade will keep a medal count for their countries.

The final dress up style on Feb. 26 will be metallic clothes and accessories.

Feb. 19 marks the beginning of the Olympic games in the elementary school gym. The ceremony will be starting around 2 p.m.

Feb. 28 concludes the games and there will be a closing ceremony and sledding party if the school's goal of 100,000 pages or minutes is reached. The total pages and minutes will be recorded throughout the month on a torch in the hallway. The flame will grow as the pages/minutes rise.

Reading in Fillmore County

Both schools are getting special incentives and rewards from area businesses who have partnered with the schools to encourage reading for the students in the Harmony, Preston and Lanesboro areas.

Angi Kaase, the community education director at Fillmore Central, said the local businesses have provided prizes such as trinkets, free kids meals, special treat bags and free admission to local attractions or events.

"The program's goal is to motivate children to read by rewarding their reading accomplishments with praise, recognition and awards," Kaase explained. "If children are not yet reading but would like to participate, goals can be reached by parents, or others reading to them."

While Fillmore Central has a school-wide goal of 100,000 pages and/or minutes, pre-school students have an individual goal of 200 minutes, kindergarten through second grade students have a goal of 300 minutes; third and fourth grade students have a goal of 400 pages and the older students in fifth and sixth grade will read 600 pages to earn their rewards.