Isaac Fox school principal pays up for summer reading bet
Isaac Fox principal Jill Brooks fulfilled her promise to dye her hair blue after her students surpassed the school’s summer reading goals. | Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 21, 2012 1:29PM
LAKE ZURICH — To motivate her students, Isaac Fox Elementary principal Jill Brooks pledged to dye her hair blue if students committed to read over the summer.
On Friday, Isaac Fox students got their award when Brooks walked into an assembly with freshly dyed blue hair.
“It was a great assembly,” Brooks said. “It was wonderful.”
Students and teachers were asked to wear blue shirts. Brooks said the room was filled with excitement.
“We had some of our fifth-graders playing the drum roll when we went in,” she said.
Brooks explained that she came up with the idea for blue hair last spring when she was thinking of ways to get more kids to participate in the school’s summer reading program. Because more than half of the students continually read throughout the summer break, she had no choice but to pay up.
“We’ve always had a summer reading program, but participation has not lived up to our expectations,” Brooks said.
The blue hair motivation worked. This year, the school had more participation than they ever had before, she said.
“The kids had to read as much as they could over the summer,” assistant librarian Bert Denley said. “We had a great response to the program.”
To keep track of how much they were reading, students filled out reading logs that recorded what books they read and how many pages. Parents then signed the forms.
“They read many different kinds of books,” said Brooks, adding that she hopes this inspires students to continue reading on their own and to branch out into other genres.
Brooks said school librarian Anne Kuehl founded the summer reading program. But the blue hair, she added, was her idea.
Brooks said she plans to come up with something slightly different next year so the students will have a new incentive.
“We have to think carefully,” she said.
There also were two individual winners of the reading contest who received a prize and a $50 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble.
The winner of the third- through fifth-grade division was Arden Chan, who read more than 22,000 pages.
The winner of the Kindergarten through second-grade category logged 3,000 pages.
There also were prizes for the class that read the most pages. First place received a pizza party and second place earned an ice cream party. All participants received a pencil and a ribbon.