Sunrise holds ‘Winter Reading Olympics’

Matt Graham, who went to Sunrise Elementary School in Shelley and who is now a member of Team USA Figure Skating, speaks to students at his former school on Friday. Graham’s speech was part of the kickoff for the school’s “Winter Reading Olympics,” a reading challenge the school is doing to coincide with the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Graham is flanked by Sumin Cho, left, and Corwyn Clemons, right, wearing traditional Korean wedding clothes. Sumin is an exchange student from South Korea who is attending Shelley High School. photo courtesy Robyn Elswood

Sunrise Elementary School is holding a reading challenge for its students to coincide with the Winter Olympics.

The opening ceremony for Sunrise’s Winter Reading Olympics was on Friday, featuring a parade and a speech from Matt Graham, a Sunrise alumnus who is a member of Team USA Figure Skating. Each classroom has adopted a country as part of the event, and the flags from those nations were on display.

The challenge runs through Feb. 25, its end also coinciding with the actual Olympic schedule. Kindergartners and first-graders are challenged to read for a given number of minutes, while second-graders are challenged to read a certain number of books. Students get medals for reaching certain goals — a bronze medal for 100 minutes of reading, a silver medal for 200, a gold medal for 400.

“The whole point is just to encourage them to read and to practice and read every day and work toward a goal,” said Sunrise Principal Robyn Elswood.

Second-grade teachers Alyssa Rigby and Liz Lathrop came up with the idea, Elswood said. The students choose the books, and can read either at school or at home. When the Olympics are over, the class with the highest medal count wins.

Reporter Nathan Brown can be reached at 208-542-6757.