Rock concerts kick off Reading Rocks in Wilton

Wilton Education Foundation’s fifth annual Reading Rocks! program added a new twist to its kickoff on Jan. 7, with rock concerts at Miller-Driscoll and Cider Mill schools.

Students at Miller-Driscoll were treated to a performance by Black Tie Affair, which is comprised of Wilton High School seniors Tristan Clark, Will Comer, Elliot Connors and Tommy Crimmins. Students at Cider Mill enjoyed a concert led by a group of teachers including Frank Coomaraswamy, Tim Gallo, Ken Hayashi, Andrew Pearson and Kate Sheehan, with the help of a guest drummer.

The students embraced this new aspect to the hugely successful program with chants “Reading Rocks!” during the performances. Members of Black Tie Affair were swamped with students seeking autographs, while Cider Mill cheered and waved their arms to the music.

Reading Rocks is the foundation’s non-competitive read-a-thon for students in pre-K through fifth grade. The goal of the program is to encourage children to have fun reading while raising money for the Wilton Education Foundation, which in turn benefits the Wilton public schools. To date, the program has raised more than $155,000.

That money has been put to a variety of uses including:

•        Professional development for teachers;

•        SmartBoard purchases and installation;

•        iPad purchases;

•        iGenius teacher training;

•        iSTEM equipment purchases;

•        Fine and Performing Arts support;

•        Library and literacy enrichment;

•        Starlab portable planetarium.

In addition to raising money for the foundation, students who participate in the read-a-thon have a chance to win prizes. For each individual pledge students get by Jan. 22, they earn a chance to win an iPad or a Kindle Fire. There will be one Kindle Fire awarded per grade at Miller-Driscoll, one per house at Cider Mill, and one iPad awarded across all grades PreK-5. In addition, the grade in Miller-Driscoll with the highest percent participation by Jan. 22 will earn an extra recess and the house at Cider Mill with the highest participation percentage will earn a homework-free day.

Pledge forms and money raised are due by Jan. 22, when students and staff are invited to dress up for Dress Like A Rock Star day.

The reading period during which students will do their best to complete their reading goals begins on Jan. 23.

The program is co-chaired by Julie Steckel and Rebecca LePage.

Superintendent of Schools Kevin Smith called Reading Rocks “an essential program that brings the community together in a very unique way to demonstrate the importance of falling in love with reading.”

The program is sponsored by the Stroup family.