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Millions Of Pages And A Survivor Feast Later...

Students at Independence Elementary read 1.5 million pages in five months during the school's annual Read-a-Thon.

INDEPENDENCE -- Students at Independence Elementary read 1.5 million pages in five months during the school's annual Read-a-Thon.

They finished the event with the popular traditional assembly April 11.

"Our closing day, which included recording all of their reading after spring break, was a doozy," said Marilyn Morton of Moms-4-Reading.

"We logged in more than 200,000 pages of reading and paid out $739 in reading dollars. The Read-a-thon store was a mad house."

Moms-4-Reading sponsors the read-a-thon every year. As children read more pages, they earn "Reading Bucks" they can redeem at a school store stocked by the mothers.

When children meet their overall reading goals, Principal Tish Mendenhall does something outrageous. One year it was strapping on a fake belly for a sumo wrestling match with the top reader.

Last year, it was doing a Sonny and Cher number.

"It's all a secret what the principal will be doing as a reward for the kids more than making their goal of 1,000,000 pages -- very, very secret," Morton said.

"But think `Survivor' and `food.'"

As it turned out, Mendenhall was confronted by a plate full of foods that might be found on the "Survivor" menu -- from crawly things to green liquids. Were they real? All the students know for sure is that she did indeed eat it all up.

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