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Kids hoping to hit a home run with Swoop & Stu's Reading Program

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - While baseball players have been teeing up for the home opener, students have been breaking out the books to hit a home run. 

The South Bend Cubs started Swoop & Stu's Reading Program in 2013 to give kids an incentive to read every day. 

This year, there are over 100 local schools and 25,000 students participating--all hoping to hit it out of the park.

“I love reading. I feel like I am an avid reader, and a lot of my classmates are, too," said third grader, Addison Singleton.

“This year we recently just started Swoop and Stu’s Reading Club, which is a program that encourages kids to read through the calendar. So each base, you’re trying to hit a home run, so to get to each base, it’s simple. Just read five days a week, and you get one base. Basically you would read for five weeks or 20 days in order to hit one home run," she said.

When you hit a home run, the Cubs reward you with free tickets to any game.

“They get excited about reading. They get excited about moving from base to base, and they see their accomplishments. That’s why we do the board. So they not only see it in their agenda, but they actually see their runner running, so I think it’s a good sense of accomplishment once they get to home base," said Horizon Elementary first grade teacher, Joann Hartline.

"You read a chapter, and then you never know what’s going to happen next. It’s like a mystery. That’s why I like books," said first grader Jack Richmond.

“It’s like fun. You just gotta read cool stories, just like adventure," said first grader Bryce Doland.

“I think it is very important to read. Reading exposes us to new ideas and cultures that can help us in the future," said Addison.

“To see kids come in first grade and then the growth that they’ve made throughout the years, and Addy’s still as excited today as she was in first grade about reading, and that says a lot," said Ms. Hartline.

Ms. Hartline estimates that every year, 80 to 90% of her students reach home base.


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