The Ottumwa Courier

November 14, 2013

Principal reads her heart out at Cardinal Elementary

Courier staff writer

---- — ELDON — For a while, she was at the beach. Then she visited a castle. After that was the igloo, a campfire and scuba diving.

No, Cardinal Elementary School Principal Cindy Shepherd wasn't on vacation. She was at school — reading.

To promote National Young Readers Week, Shepherd was asked to spend the day reading. From the time the first bell sounded until the last bell at the end of the day, she got to read. Even when she had to leave the building for a little while, Superintendent Joel Pedersen picked up where she left off.

"It's about being a model to the students, showing them that adults read, too," she said. "My whole goal is to give them a passion for reading."

Shepherd, who is in her third year as principal of the elementary school, spent parts of her day in each of the eight scenes throughout the school — everything from wearing a wig and gloves in the Rock and Roll scene to hanging out in the drive-in movie scene.

The principal challenge is part of the Pizza Hut Book It! program's National Young Readers Week celebration. The annual event is co-sponsored by Pizza Hut and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

In addition to the day of reading, the scenes the classrooms made will be posted on the school's Facebook page through Sunday. The public will be able to vote for the scene they like the best. And then comes even more fun.

"Alan Thompson (from the local Pizza Huts) will throw a pizza party for the winning class," Shepherd said.

One elementary school who turns in their reading times — and Cardinal Elementary surpassed its goal Thursday morning — will win 101 copies of the eighth Wimpy Kid series book, which released last week. Jeff Kinney, the author, will personally autograph one of the books.