Belonging to the Millionaires Club is the ultimate bragging right for 3rd-6th graders at Harding Elementary. The avid readers, who normally would be celebrating their one million or more words read with sweet drinks from Starbucks and a trolley ride around town to the public library and other spots, had to celebrate in a more creative way amid the pandemic.

“They didn’t have it all done by the time they went into the digital classroom,” said 5th grade teacher Jen Griffith. In order to obtain millionaire status, students must read at least one million words by the end of the school year. Three of the four 5th-grade millionaires are in Griffith’s class.

“It was really hard for the kids to transition into online learning and actually push themselves,” Griffith said. “But they did it on top of all of their other classwork.”

Because the students aren’t able to gather in person, a video montage of the millionaires holding up signs of their aspirations was played on the school’s Student Good News show, or SGN. The “news broadcast” was started by 6th-grade teacher Megan Reed as a way to keep students connected and bring them good news amid the school closure and pandemic.

“I actually got the inspiration for it from the actor John Krasinski, who calls it Some Good News, but just changed it to Harding Good News instead,” Reed explained. 

The Office star Krasinski’s low-budget news show is meant to showcase feel-good stories to offset the “bad news” of the world. Reed’s version is similar and allows students to film themselves at home sharing their own good news while Reed acts as the news anchor, directing in between student-created segments. 

“Will keep doing this after we go back to in-person classes because it is really popular,” Reed said. “I think it would be great if the 5th and 6th graders took over the newscaster role and organize it.”

The SGN episode that honors the 2020 millionaires can be found with the rest of the SGN videos here

“I encourage my kids to read a million words like we’re just reading all the time,” Reed said. “I am always encouraging that as a lifelong skill. I hope that’s the larger takeaway for them — a love of reading and curiosity.”

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