Great Falls 2nd Graders Read 53,717 Minutes

In our 11th Annual Read 2 Me challenge, Great Falls 2nd Graders read 53,717 minutes during the two-week challenge. United Way partners with Great Falls Public Schools for this event as part of our Graduate to Elevate initiative.
TDS Fiber sponsored this year’s Read 2 Me Challenge, buying books and gift cards to winning students at each school.
The books are given to every 2nd Grader through their schools and United Way recruits volunteer readers, including business leaders, Mayor Cory Reeves and Great Falls Voyagers mascot Orbit, who read part of the book to students and also talk about the importance of reading and education.
“After spending part of my career in youth social services, I am grateful for the opportunity to promote early childhood literacy,” said TDS sales representative and volunteer reader Gavin Sundquist. “Many thanks to TDS and United Way for investing in this important reading program.”
For the reading challenge, students can enter for a drawing each time they read for 20 minutes from Feb. 8-22. The prize is $15 Barnes & Noble gift card to buy more books. Six prizes will be drawn at each of the 15 public elementary schools. 
Each 2nd grader will receive a book from the “Who Would Win?” series. The popular book series that engages students in science and teaches facts about animals and nature, while deciding who would win if a grizzly bear battled a polar bear. 
The project is part of the Graduate to Elevate initiative, which is working to increase the number of local students who graduate on time. United Way and the school district wanted to focus on second-graders because of how important it is for students to be proficient readers by the time they finish third-grade. 
After third-grade, students must read in order to learn math, science, history and literature. Consequently, studies show that students who aren’t reading at grade level by third-grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

Here's a breakdown for each elementary school:

Chief Jo 1,160 38.67
Giant Springs 3250 50.00
Lewis and Clark 4,480 91.43
Lincoln 6,100 112.96
Longfellow 1,400 25.93
Loy 5,820 97.00
Meadowlark 12,117 134.63    
Morningside 920 27.88
Mountain View 3,690 65.89
Riverview 3,920 57.65
Sacajawea 2,040 39.23
Sunnyside 2,180 38.25
Valley View 2,700 60.00
West 2,280 40.00
Whittier 1,660 48.82
TOTAL 53,717 66.81