Students at Johnson Elementary have a new friend, Herman the Worm. This worm is slightly different than the norm. He is much more colorful, and has grown to an extraordinary length. His current length expands over two walls of the gym. How, one might ask? As students read, Herman grows.
Herman the Worm originated from a brainstorming session with a team of first grade and kindergarten teachers. They were trying to come up with fun, interactive ideas to motivate kids to read at home, and the idea of Herman was born. Students take Herman bookmarks home. On the bookmark, Herman’s body is made up of ten circles. For each night that students read, they color a circle. When all of the circles have been filled in, students bring the bookmark back to school in exchange for a circle that to add to Herman’s body, allowing him to grow! While looking at the infamous worm, one young student, Lilly, proudly pointed to a pink circle and exclaimed, “If you read all the time you get a circle. Last time I got a yellow one, and this time it was pink!”
Is Herman motivating the students to read? “There is a buzz in the hallway when Herman grows,” answered kindergarten teacher, Brook Schueller. “We are so excited to see Herman grow throughout the building.” Though the first goal has been met, Schueller said that Herman will continue to grow throughout the year, and several additional goals will be set. “Our next goal is just before he grows out of the gym and into the hallway,” said Schueller.
Students celebrated the accomplishment of their first goal by donning reading glasses, but not just any reading glasses. PIE generously purchased glow-in-the-dark, Herman the Worm reading glasses for every student at Johnson School. At a designated time, students all went out to the hall, put on their Herman the Worm glasses, sang the Herman the Worm song and read. Schueller added, “We hope to have additional reading celebrations throughout the year by coordinating opportunities with high school students and people in the community.”