READING INCENTIVE: Sports Prizes Get Students Involved

When it comes to reading, some students need a little motivation to pick up a book.

“I used to not read that big of books, now I can read a lot more books and bigger ones than usual,” says Drew Van Hauen, a Pella 7th grader.

The force behind more kids reading at Pella Middle School is Mr. Jason Anderson. He is writing around 500 letters a year asking sports teams to help motivate students to read more.

Those teams send items back for Mr. Anderson to hand out as prizes.

Some of the gifts he’s received are: a warm up suit from the LA Lakers and a signed photo from Cyclone football coach Paul Rhoads.

Prizes come from many D-1 schools and smaller colleges as well as NASCAR and the NFL.

Mr. Anderson started the effort four years ago, asking for help from all over.

“Just what some teams are willing to send and they say ‘hey use this any way you can to get kids to read.’ We think it’s great, Oklahoma State wrote me a real nice letter from their equipment manager saying ‘you know Mr. Anderson this is the neatest thing I’ve heard of, have some helmet decals,’” says Anderson.

Anderson says he believes the reading scores are up and he says it’s not just to get a prize.

Anderson believes the students see he will work hard for them so they want to work hard for him too.

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