As the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, wrapped up last month, some Olympians closer to home took home medals for events that will undoubtedly serve them for a lifetime.

As the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, wrapped up last month, some Olympians closer to home took home medals for events that will undoubtedly serve them for a lifetime.

“We had Olympic sports like hockey, figure skating, curling, bobsledding, and skiing,” said Turkeyfoot Elementary School second-grade teacher Linda Boyle of the theme of this year's Right to Read Week at the school. “Each classroom, from kindergarten to second graders, chose a country to study in their classroom.”

The program, which wrapped up Feb. 28 with a medals-presentation ceremony, allowed an expansion of the classroom curriculum, beyond reading, to encompass areas such as math and social studies, Boyle said.  The reading-centric Olympic events, meanwhile, fostered sportsmanship and character.

“We also had readers, including Coventry Schools Superintendent Randy Chaboudy and former Turkeyfoot Principal Don Murray,” Boyle said of the more-traditional Right to Read activities.

Right to Read Week encourages activities such as sustained silent reading, reading to others, and discussing the books students read and enjoy, encouraging students to develop lifetime reading habits.

Like many of her fellow Turkeyfoot classmates, Brooke Barkdull, a second-grader whose classroom chose Ireland as its adopted country, came dressed for the part in traditional Emerald Isle garb.

“I liked reading about the countries,” Brooke said of her favorite part of the week.

Kindergarten teacher Jeff Johnson — whose students donned homemade pizza hats for the awards ceremony, in honor of their country, Italy — said even at a young age, students can glean much from Right to Read Week.

“We are not doing a ton of reading, of course, but we talked about different types of books, different types of jobs — like the authors and illustrators — and things like setting and what is going to happen next,” Johnson said. “The kids really love this and you can never start too early.”

Coventry high school students and sports standouts Bridgett Parkins, Jesse Oravecz and Luke Bogdanovich also spoke to the students about the importance of reading in all facets of life, school and career with “each new chapter in your book of life,” in Parkins's words.

Bogdanovich, who, like Parkins and Oravecz has excelled in a number of sports including basketball, football and track, said the return to his own elementary school brought back memories.

“Seeing all my old teachers - and one of my teachers didn't recognize me,” he laughed. “But I remember when the kids from the high school came and talked to us, it was a big influence.”