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West Madison staff endures pie-in-face for reading

West Madison Principal Dr. Daphne Jah appears frightened as top reader Katie Grace Jones prepares to throw a pie. (CONTRIBUTED)
West Madison Principal Dr. Daphne Jah appears frightened as top reader Katie Grace Jones prepares to throw a pie. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Getting students excited about reading takes top priority for West Madison Elementary School. Faculty members even will take a pie in the face for the cause.

For 17 years, West Madison has applied Accelerated Reader (AR) from Renaissance Learning Inc. Students independently select books at their reading level and later take comprehension tests.

Teachers set point goals for students each nine weeks. “If students reach point goal and 90-percent average on tests, they receive a free hockey ticket,” second-grade teacher Cheryl Bailey said.

“AR is all about independent reading. It’s important to find time to devote to silent-sustained practice, no matter what their level,” Bailey said. She has weekly conferences with students about test scores, rewards them for benchmarks met and informs parents about their child’s progress.

For each 10 points, Bailey gives rewards, like homework passes, special pens and markers, chapter books, extra recess and reading to younger students. At 100 points, students are recognized in morning announcements. For 125 points, students and Bailey have a special lunch. At 150 and 175 points, she surprises students with a special gift. Students with the top five AR points receive bookstore gift cards.

Cheryl Bailey, center, survived the pie-in-the face and shares a laugh with West Madison top readers Anna Digges, left, and Katie Grace Jones. (CONTRIBUTED)
Cheryl Bailey, center, survived the pie-in-the face and shares a laugh with West Madison top readers Anna Digges, left, and Katie Grace Jones. (CONTRIBUTED)

The ultimate prize occurs at 200 points — students ‘pie’ Bailey in the face at the end-of-year class party. Bailey supplied garbage bags, goggles and shower caps for ‘pied victims.’

Eight-year-old Katie Grace Jones, the 2013 top reader, reached 200 points and negotiated with Bailey for her 300-point reward. Jones wanted to ‘pie’ her first-grade teacher Toni Daniel. At 400 points, Jones asked to ‘pie’ assistant principal Kathy Miller.

“Katie reached 400 points in April,” Bailey said. “She asked to ‘pie’ principal Dr. Daphne Jah if she reached 500 points. Katie was my number one reader with 500.1 points.”

Anna Digges, also 8, took second place with 356 points. At 300 points, Digges ‘pied’ library aide Linda Moe.

“Rewarding my students with small rewards, homework passes or pies in my face is a small gesture to see their growth,” Bailey said.

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