Throughout March, local and national schools celebrated Reading Month with various activities, events and fundraisers to promote literacy.

Events included read-a-thons, guest readers, author visits and more to districts in the Holland region.

A raising funds for a Holland Public Schools Parent Teacher Organization read-a-thon raised more than $28,000 and encouraged more than 240,000 minutes of reading in elementary and intermediate buildings across the district.

Throughout March, buildings tracked donations and minutes read by students, with the top school receiving a visit from the Polar Patrol Truck in May.

Jefferson Elementary won the award with 96,880 minutes read, beating Holland Language Academy with 64,931 and Holland Middle School with 57,704. In total, students across the five buildings read a combined 245,672 minutes and raised $28,026.62 for the PTO fund.

The Grand Rapids Gold Buckets mascot with a class of Roosevelt Elementary students.  Zeeland and Holland teamed up with Gold and Gentex to promote reading in March.

A handful of local elementary schools have been visited by Buckets, the mascot of the Grand Rapids Gold G-League basketball team. Schools in Holland and Zeeland have partnered with Gold and Gentex to participate in the Grand Rapids Gold Elevate Reading Program.

The program challenges students to read 20 minutes a day. Those who accepted the challenge and logged their time were eligible to win prizes.

Some elementary buildings in Zeeland have organized their Reading Month activities around the partnership, including a March Madness-style book rack in one building and New Olympic theme “Reading for Gold” from Groningen.

Continued:Zeeland Elementary Kicks off Reading Month with Opening Ceremony

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On Friday, March 18, Buckets stopped by Roosevelt Elementary in Zeeland and Jefferson and West in Holland to help celebrate Reading Month.

“At a time when teaching and education seem more challenging than ever, partnerships like these truly make a difference for our students,” said Julie Paterick, assistant superintendent of early childhood and elementary program at SPAs. “Having local organizations sponsor these efforts reminds us that our community supports the important work we do and that we are all in this together for our children.”

Grand Rapids Gold mascot Buckets visited Roosevelt Elementary School in Zeeland on Friday, March 18, 2022, as part of Reading Month celebrations.

Several schools also had the right to visits from authors. At Douglas Elementary School in Saugatuck, “Sport – Ship Dog of the Great Lakes” author Pam Cameron visited as part of Reading Month activities.

At Waukazoo Elementary, former principal Mike Kesterke stopped by to share the process of publishing his book “You Can Do It, Rocket.”

— Contact journalist Mitchell Boatman at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @SentinelMitch.