Reading antics

Wednesday, April 25th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Students today don't read as well as they should. Perhaps that's because they don't read as much as they should. There are lots of programs in place to encourage improvement.

KOTV's Rick Wells has found an elementary school principal, who is willing to do almost anything to get his students to read more. Former First Lady Barbara Bush has a foundation to improve family literacy. Her daughter-in-law, the current First Lady, is an advocate of improved reading. Our state's First Lady Cathy Keating has spent much of her time encouraging more and better reading. At Kerr Elementary in East Tulsa they have a special way of getting students to read more books. ""Mister Howe, Mister Howe" As the students chant his name, principal Mike Howe in blue sumo suit wrestles with a parent. He's paying off a little bet. A bargain he made with his students, to read more books. "This year we started at 8500, books to read and they read 10,162. So next year we have a challenge, to set a goal even higher and see how high they can go."

This isn't the first time he's done something like this. Last year he promised to kiss a pig and have the name of the school buzzed into the back of his hair, he did. Year before that he promised to shave his beard, he did that too. This year he said he'd put on the sumo suit and wrestle with parents. You get the feeling he likes losing these bets. "Our goal is to send the children home wanting to read at night." Students who read the most books get a prize. 5th grader Chris Wolfe read 20 books among 'em two Harry Potter books, and was awarded a bike. What are you gonna do with that bike? "Ride it." Of course he is.

What will the principal do next year to challenge his students? "I still haven't eaten bugs, maybe