April 13, 2017
Students need a reason to read like a principal needs a pie to the face
by Chad Felix
Pieing (n): An instance of throwing a pie at someone, most prominently a politician or other powerful or influential person as a means of protest.
Hello! It is I, the Elementary School Student. Believe it or not, Adult Person, I do not like reading all that much. So you’ll understand when I tell you how my teacher, a helpless goofball, says to me and my classmates, “Hey, read Where the Red Fern Grows, you heathens! Feel something for once in your lives, God help us all!” And then how he while he’s whimpering off to his desk, we can’t help but respond, silently or aloud: “Yeah, no thanks, we’re good.”
This is our way of life. This is how we live.
But I’m afraid life’s not so simple at Michigan’s Beaverton Elementary anymore. Nope. This semester we got us some live ones. They’re really determined to get us to read some stuff, and they’ve got ideas to entice us.
Our way of life has been thrown into disarray.
We’re reading now, for the most part, God help us. I definitely am. So much so, in fact, that I no longer recognize my friends and they don’t recognize me. My parents, both of them, are proud of me. My grades are way up. It’s a nightmare.
“Imaginations now fly where only spitballs once tread.”
—Wise Steve from first period
Let me explain. This savvy Old, Principal Bassage, decided, as a way of promoting “March is Reading Month” (ugh), that he’d like us to honor him with some pies to the face. Like, whipped cream pies. All we had to do was collectively read 3,000 books. Naturally, my colleagues and I, and even some of the teachers, perked up at that. A temporary alliance was formed. We decided we’d play nice for a while. We’d read.
We decorated the classroom door with hand-drawn book covers.
Behind it we waited: plotting, learning, reading, taking quizzes, thinking about our futures — at least until The Pieing Time.
And then, The Pieing Time came.
And now, Bassage has been pied. Honestly? 100% worth it.
Chad Felix is the Director of Library and Academic Marketing at Melville House, and a former bookseller.