Friday, October 20, 2006

Read a book, eat a worm

My 6 (almost 7) year-old is half way through the first grade in our small town's one and only public elementary school.

She was recently tested and is apparently reading at the 2nd grade level according to both the STAR Reading Test and the CCC Computer Lab Initial Reading Program (impressive huh...just a little name dropping on my part).

Translation... she's being encouraged to participate in the "dot" reading program.

In the school library there stands a special section of books, each of which are clearly branded with circular shaped stickers...dots.

The student who has reached the required reading level gets to pick a dotted book and must read it on their own. Ater which, they take a reading comprehension test on the book and if they answer 7 of the 10 questions correctly the student earns a "dot point."

Still with me?

After accumulating 10 dot points, the student then earns some "school bucks" that they may use to purchase special prizes at the library.

Books and book related materials, I'm assuming.

It was these dot points that the 2nd - 4th graders had earned that prompted the Principal at my daughter's school to eat 4 live worms.

Night crawlers.

Live, night crawlers.

Apparently, sometime before the summer break, in a fit of ego and pride, the Principal agreed to eat 4 squiggling annelidas if the dot earning students accumulated 4000 dot points over a set amount of time.

The retched little over-achieving readers came back with over 5000 gleaming dot points.

Gol'darn. [token coloful local vernacular phrase]

I recently read about a Principal up in Oregon who agreed to spend an entire hour on the roof of her school, for every 1000 books her students read.

The little buggers read 20,000 books. She was up there for a long, cold, rainy pacific northwest day. But at least she didn't have to eat bass bait while doing it.

I talked to the "dude" before the event, thinking that he must have eaten worms sometime in his past for a frat prank, or as a weird football initiation rite (he played college ball on a scholarship in OK...not a small accomplishment here in the land of elevated college football player reverence).

Of couse, he hadn't. And even though he was a local boy from around my hometown neck of the woods of So Cal, he hadn't developed a taste for sushi. Not that eating raw fish would necessarily enable one to consume worms in an orderly fashion, but an uncooked slice of tuna flesh is closer on the culinary evolutionary scale to a wiggly worm, than is say, a porterhouse cooked medium-rare.

I couldn't leave my homey out there hanging. So we put our deformed San Gabriel valley bred noggins together and formalated a strategy for choking the little suckers down in the most gag-reflex-suppressing manner.

And the table was set.
And the worms were purchased.
And the eating began.

I witnessed the event and videotaped it.

Watch it at your own discretion. It isn't pretty.

Our small town school Principal got game.

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