SPRINGFIELD TWP.  Third-graders at Spring Hill Elementary School were rewarded for their hard work and dedication to literacy on April 26 at a special program just for them.

During the program, the 88 third graders of the school excitedly gathered in the gymnasium to meet and have a fun time with the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Scream Team and Cavalier Girls.

The cheer visitors came to the school as a reward for the young readers. The Spring Hill third graders have participated in the Cavaliers’ Read to Achieve Program throughout the school year. The program is designed to help students develop reading skills as well as encourage adults to spend time reading to children. The program reaches many elementary, middle and high school students in Northeast Ohio. The Fit As A Pro program is also year-round and encourages physical fitness and well-balanced nutrition for elementary and middle school students. 

The students of Kendra Cox, Michelle Fenske, Dana Floyd and Kristy Ward’s third grade classes enjoyed a time of exercise and hearing an interactive story. The kids responded to the book, “Move Your Body” by doing jumping jacks, pushups, dancing, jumping rope and other activities getting a little literacy and exercise at the same time.

Senior Manager of Community Relations and Player Programs for the Cavaliers Emily Thomas said through their Read to Achieve Program and Fit As A Pro Health and Wellness program, they visit schools and offer for schools to come to events throughout the year.

“Once a month we randomly select a class we have been working with,” she said.

For the Spring Hill program, the entertainment team combined the April theme for the Read to Achieve program, “bookworm”, and the Fit as Pro theme of “energy” to read to the students and get them moving with exercises and just having fun with the team members. Fenske said when the students walked into the gym, they saw the words "energy" and "bookworm" spelled out in big balloon letters and they were very excited.   

Cox said the students had to do an activity each month in the classroom as part of the Read to Achieve program of the Cavaliers. Teachers would submit pictures and information as to what they were doing to promote reading for third-grade students.

The students became DJs for a day looking at song lyrics and describing why the words were important and what the meaning was. Third-grader Quarviyon Siggers said they got to play songs so they could find out the meaning of the songs. He chose “Baby Shark,” recorded by Pinkfong and said he wasn’t quite sure of the meaning. Caitlyn Ragone picked “My Little Girl” by Tim McGraw and she said she picked it because it means a lot to her because her dad loves her and “I’m always going to be his little girl.”

They did other things such as send Christmas Cards to other third grade classes around the United States. They had a pin board of where they sent cards. Cax said they also brought in recipes to read. Everything was documented and sent to the Cav’s program.

Third-grader Haley Beach said she thinks it is good that the Cavs' cheer teams came to Spring Hill because she likes them, and it was good that they participated (in the reading program).

 “We were selected to have the Scream Team and the cheerleaders here today. They are looking for participation and we participated,” said Cox. She said she was excited that they were selected. 

Fenske said the students did truly enjoy the experience.

“My students really enjoyed seeing the Cavs Scream Team," Fenske said. "On our way back to the classroom, I heard a student say, 'That was amazing.' I also heard another student say, 'That was the best day ever.'  Hopefully, it will help them realize that reading is as important to their health as eating right and exercising. Reading feeds our minds as food feeds our bodies.”