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Lisbon students read to see superintendent kiss a goat

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LISBON - For the first time since its inception in 1995, the Fun Reading of Good Stories program at Lisbon Central School can boast membership including every single student, teacher, and teaching assistant in kindergarten through fourth grade.

“FROGS is a highly motivational reading program our students have obviously responded well to,” said Superintendent Erin E. Woods, enjoying a Stewarts Shop-provided ice cream sundae Tuesday along with about 250 students and staff members that have joined the club this year. “I think they’re excited about seeing me kiss a goat.”

Elementary students are on track to make Ms. Woods do just that during the final FROGS assembly of the school year, slated for June 15 at 2:30 p.m., according to Marci L. O’Neil, co-advisor of the FROGS program. Mrs. O’Neil said less than 1,000 books remain to be read in order to surpass the district’s goal of 25,000 - a milestone which equates to Ms. Woods kissing Ellie, a live goat.

“Students are already picking out my outfit and lipstick color,” said Ms. Woods, who last year agreed to allow students to duct tape her to the wall after reaching their FROGS goal. “I’m just really proud of all of them for reaching their goals. Reading can be really challenging.”

The program involves students reading and passing multiple-choice, computer-based accelerated reader tests on age-appropriate books. Besides the incentive of watching Ms. Woods kiss the goat, FROGS members are also recognized at monthly assemblies and receive gifts from local businesses and the district’s Parent-Teacher-Student Association.

In honor of reaching the halfway point of the 25,000-book goal in February, the PTSA purchased a new piece of equipment for the school playground.

“It’s wonderful,” said Rachel F. Livingston, the school librarian and another FROGS advisor. “We’re seeing a lot of encouragement between students and a lot of them are reading together and to each other in the library. It’s refreshing to see students excited about reading and to hear them tell me where they stand. They love to read and take those tests.”

Membership for kindergarten students requires 10 points, 15 for first-graders, and 25 points for grades three through six. An early level picture book, like The Berenstain Bears, might earn a student a point or two, while larger, more intensive volumes, such as Watership Down or Moby Dick, can mean 30 or 40 points, or more.

Teaching assistant Beth J. Hooper said she has earned FROGS membership by tallying over 200 points and has been impressed by what she has been seeing in her students.

“A lot of teamwork evolves from it. It’s amazing to see them working together to reach their goals,” she said.

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