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Reading event gets a running start


Miriah Kardelis

Teachers and students take a quick jog around the playground last Friday morning to kick off the annual Running Start program, presented by the Thompson Falls Woman's Club. The studnets will read books and chapters to earn prizes during the month of April.

For nearly 40 years, students at Thompson Falls Elementary have participated in the school's Running Start Program. A program geared toward encouraging students to read for fun. On Friday morning, Elementary Principal Len Dorscher gathered students in K-6 for the traditional run around the basketball court to symbolize the start of the program. "I've been leading the run for all nine years I've been here," Dorscher said. "This is the longest running program of any sort we've done at this school."

Students have the month of April to get as much reading done as possible. To help students with their reading journey, Thompson Falls Woman's Club (TFWC) and First Security Bank teamed up and donated $700 in Scholastic Books to the school. "We donated 386 books this year," said Karen Gustavsen with TFWC. "That's enough to give every child a book plus extra for the classrooms and the library."

Students get to keep track of their progress in shoe-shaped reading logs. For every 21 books or 21 chapters read, the student will get entered into a drawing at the end of the month. On May 4, there will be an award ceremony with ice cream provided by Valley Bank. The Masonic Lodge provides Kindles for the winners of the reading program. "We award one kindle for every grade," Dorscher said. Everyone loves the Kindles."

Gustavsen, who was present at Friday morning's run, explained the program was started back in the 80s by former teacher and TFWC member Eileen Stone. "Eileen taught here and once she started the program, it just blossomed," Gustavsen said. Once the run was over, students went back to their classrooms to read and Gustavsen stayed to help read to the younger classes.


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