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Thunder Bay Junior High in Alpena has found a special way to keep students engaged for the month. The month of March is known for the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day and the Shamrock Shake. Though for schools, March is known as reading month and a celebration across the nation for schools, while also trying to influence students to love reading. Abbie Kowalski, the Dean of Students for Thunder Bay Junior High, said, “The book that we’ve chosen for our all read book this year is Jeremy Fink and The Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass. This is a book that we’ve chosen that each of our students grades sixth through eighth will receive a copy of, and throughout the month, everyday we’re gonna focus on a chapter that we will read. We’ll have some activities and things school wide that will go along with that.”

Abbie Kowalski, the Dean of Students for Thunder Bay Junior High

One of the ways the school decided to keep students engaged is to ask trivia questions each day from the book, with a chance for 4 students to open a locked box filled with prizes. Another way has made the book more accessible thanks to members of the community. Kowalski said, “One of the things we’ve done is we have had community members that recorded themselves reading a chapter in the book.” She said, “So each day the students can read it on their own, play the video and listen to being read to them to ensure that all of our students can have access to it and enjoy the book with us throughout the month.”

The community has also gotten behind Thunder Bay Junior High for support and sponsorship of the month-long event, by offering prizes for giveaways and hanging posters in the businesses in the community. Kowalski said, “Each of the posters in the community has a QR code, so students can go to those businesses and scan the QR code with any devices.” She said, “They’ll then type in the quote located on the poster, and that will also get them in for some giveaways as well. So that just gets them out into the community and shows them that we have the support of our community, and they understand the importance of reading.”