Why did Yertle the Turtle build his throne? How far into the sky did it reach? And when Yertle finally fell off his throne, what happened?
These are just a few of the questions that the students at Mahoning Elementary School answered during the sixth annual "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" program. Modeled after the popular television show, the game asks students questions about five popular Dr. Seuss books. The students play for fun prizes such as books, games, and Dr. Seuss stuffed animals.
Six students and two teachers were chosen to play the game, answering questions about Dr. Seuss in rapid-fire response. These kids knew their Seuss but like the popular "Millionaire" show, they were also allowed to have help for the tough questions. The students could call a friend, ask the audience, or eliminate two wrong answers with 50/50.
Students laughed and cheered as the program began, when reading specialist Marsha Long introduced the host for the day.
"We're really lucky, because the Cat in the Hat was able to get Yertle the Turtle for us," said Long. The kids cheered as Yertle walked on stage, followed by the Cat in the Hat's friends, Thing 1 and Thing 2.
The program is organized and hosted by third-grade teacher Cale Kresge.
The entire school prepared for the program by reading and discussing Dr. Seuss books. The books featured this year were "The Cat in the Hat," "Green Eggs and Ham," "Yertle the Turtle," "Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose," and "The King's Stilts."
Because this is the sixth year that Mahoning has hosted the game, many of the older students have taken part in the program before. To keep things interesting for the older kids, teachers introduced older Seuss books like "Thidwick" and "The King's Stilts."
"We try to get new books each year that the kids haven't read before," said Kresge. "It's a fun way to get the kids excited about books."
By all accounts, the program is working, he added. Excitement over reading starts to build over the month of March, Read Across America month, when students start checking out more books from the library. The game is a fun way to get kids involved in reading and to encourage them to discuss what they've learned in each book.
The six students taking part in the game were Mason Costenbader and Sophia Foreacker, kindergarten; Alicia Schaffer, first grade; Austin Schweibinz, second grade; Stephen Heery, third grade; and Devline Lord, fourth grade. Also called onstage were Marianne Garfield and Kathleen Merluzzi, teachers at the school who will be retiring this year.
The winners of the school's Dr. Seuss poster contest were also announced during the program. Winner this year included Emily DeKorte, Nica Devline, MyKayla Engle, Callie Hayman, Lauren Marks, Ethan Miller, Willow Neeb, Rodger Pomposello, Natalie Smith, Ronald Snyder, and Antoinette Verta.