Watkins Glen International dropped the green flag on this year's "Read for Speed" reading program during separate assemblies at two local elementary schools this week. The students at Watkins Glen Elementary School (WGE) began their fourth year as part of the highly successfully program on Monday, February 25 and Fassett Elementary School in Elmira, NY kicked off their second year of participation on Friday, February 29. The program offers gift certificates from area businesses, exclusive track access and once in a lifetime opportunities at the track as rewards for reading comprehension and will run until May 16th.
Watkins Glen International initially launched the Read for Speed program at Watkins Glen Elementary in 2005. Students read over 17,000 books in 2007 and if they exceed that amount this year, WGE Principal Rodney Weeden will put his dryness on the line by giving each student a chance to "sink" him in a dunk tank. Aside from tickets to the Centurion Boats at The Glen or Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen weekends, WGE students will be awarded gift certificates from Friendly's restaurant at the Arnot Mall in Big Flats, NY and McDonald's restaurants in Elmira, NY and Watkins Glen.
"This is a great program that is truly a community effort to help our students gain a love for reading," said Rodney Weeden, Principal of Watkins Glen Elementary. "The amount of local business support is fantastic, as they support and motivate the students by supplying tangible incentives to read."
This will be the second year that the Read for Speed program officially runs at Fassett Elementary School. The first grade classes at Washington Elementary in Elmira, NY, participated in a scaled down version of the program in 2006. Those classes moved
to Fassett Elementary last year and will once again participate in the entire program which includes the chance to win tickets to The Glen's two biggest weekends. Students will also have the chance to win gift certificates from Friendly's restaurant at the Arnot Mall, Rossi Bowling Lanes and McDonald's restaurants in Elmira, NY, and the Chemung County Buildings and Grounds operated aquatic facilities Harris Hill Pool and Park Station Waterfront.
"Read for Speed has been encouraging our 1st graders to read for the past 3 years and is a wonderful program," said Sarah Welliver, 1st Grade teacher at Fassett. "We appreciate all the support The Glen provides for such a worthwhile cause. It is a great way to jumpstart reading."
The "fastest" classes at each school will be rewarded for their reading with a bus trip to The Glen in June prior to the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen. Students will be treated to three laps around the historic road course behind a pace car and head over to the FrontStretch Grandstand to eat their lunches and be treated to ice cream cake provided by Friendly's restaurant.
The program also features a reading "Pit Stop" in April where individual classrooms can play racing games, hangout with Read for Speed mascot Max Traxx, check out the Official WGI Pace Car, and get their picture taken with the No. 33 Camping World NASCAR Nationwide Series show car.
Tickets for the racing action at Watkins Glen International are on-sale now! This year the season kicks-off with the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, June 6-7 paired with the NASCAR Camping World Series' East Division on Sunday, June 8. Open-wheel racing returns for the 4th of July weekend during the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen, July 4-6, and the Centurion Boats at The Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup and Zippo 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series weekend highlights the summer action, August 7-10. For more tickets and more information, please contact the Watkins Glen International ticket office at 866-461-RACE or log on to the official website www.TheGlen.com.