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Franklin Elementary School Principal goes "Up on the Roof" to challenge students to read

  • Gail Maholick/TIMES Suzanne Howland, principal of Franklin Elementary School, explains how important it is to have her students read well as she prepares to climb a ladder to go onto the roof of the school.
    Gail Maholick/TIMES Suzanne Howland, principal of Franklin Elementary School, explains how important it is to have her students read well as she prepares to climb a ladder to go onto the roof of the school.
Published March 27. 2013 05:03PM

The children attending Franklin Elementary School put their principal, Suzanne Howland, up on the roof - literally.

This is no ordinary principal and she proved up by challenging her students to get hooked on reading and if they could meet her challenge, she would go up on the roof of the school.

The students not only met her challenge - they exceeded it.

The project to get their principal on the roof was begun by reading specialist Suzanne Cordes and Howland said she was all for it.

"I'm fine with anything that encourages my students to read," said Howland.

This project to challenge the students to read was multifaceted. They could read aloud, have their teacher read aloud, do echo reading, choral reading, shared reading, paired reading, buddy reading, whisper reading, jigsaw reading, magazine reading and many more.

"The idea wasn't just to have them read one way, it was to increase reading every way," said Howland.

So with wintry winds blowing she climbed the ladder to get on the roof. While on the roof, she read aloud, "The Principal from the Black Lagoon." There was also a rap performed by Kendra Williams, a member of the Gazette staff and a fourth grade student. Williams also wrote the rap song that focused on increasing reading.

After the principal was allowed to return to ground level again, a student from each grade was presented with a copy of the book that the principal had read.

"We were focusing on all kinds of reading, non fiction and fiction," said Howland. "I was willing to climb the ladder to show my students how much reading means to me. Reading is something you do your whole life, whether its to go shopping, reading a recipe or paying your bills. You need to read your whole life."

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