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Bears mascot motivates Chicago Ridge kids to read

Staley Bears mascot pays visit recently Ridge Central Elementary School Chicago Ridge.  |  Supplied photo

Staley, the Bears mascot, pays a visit recently to Ridge Central Elementary School in Chicago Ridge. | Supplied photo

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A mascot from the most popular football team in town recently paid a visit to Ridge Central Elementary School.

The school, at 10800 S. Lyman Ave., Chicago Ridge, welcomed Staley, mascot of the Chicago Bears.

The fuzzy fellow visited last month, and the reason for Staley’s visit was to motivate students to read by presenting them with Staley’s Tackle Reading Challenge, computer science teacher Mark Melka wrote in an email to the SouthtownStar.

Students from prekindergarten through fifth grade were in attendance, trying to win prizes and watching Staley dance to the music on the gymnasium floor.

The assembly began with a round of Bears trivia. After the trivia came a literature contest in which teams needed to pick a book and tell whether the story was fiction or nonfiction, name the main character and make five predictions, all within a few minutes.

It was during this contest that Staley danced around the entire gym, giving high-fives to teachers and students alike. Every winner of the trivia game and literature contest went home with stickers and an autograph from Staley, Melka wrote.

The presentation ended with more motivation for students to continue to read in school and at home. Every student at Ridge Central Elementary School was presented with a Tackle Reading booklet from the Bears. The objective of this booklet is to foster students’ interests in reading both fiction and nonfiction books through an incentive-based program, Melka wrote.

By reading books and then answering a few questions, students are able to win prizes.

All students who participate in Staley’s Tackle Reading Challenge receive an autograph from Staley. Every student who finishes the challenge wins a prize.

Any student who completes the “overtime” portion of the challenge would be eligible for the grand prize, which was the opportunity to practice with the Bears. For the “overtime” portion, students needed to write a one-page book report on one of the books they read, or write their very own short story.

At the conclusion of the assembly, Staley gave a high-five, handshake or bear hug to every single boy, girl and teacher at the school, encouraging them to complete the Tackle Reading Challenge.



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