Phillie Phanatic surprises Wedgwood Elementary School readers

Readers were rewarded for their reading efforts on Monday, Jan. 22

Wedgwood Very Important Readers pose with the Phillie Phanatic and principal Charlie Zimmerman during the assembly on Monday, Jan. 22.

A “Very Important Phanatic” rewarded Wedgwood Elementary School Very Important Readers for their excellent efforts in reading on Monday, Jan. 22. As part of the “Be a Phanatic About Reading” literacy program presented by Comcast, the Phillie Phanatic surprised and congratulated students gathered in a school-wide assembly for collectively reading 1,717 books in their “Wedgwood Hits the Books” campaign. Organized by school librarian Melissa Dabrowski, the initiative added a paper baseball to the hallway for every book completed by students in every grade.

The Phillie Phanatic presented Dabrowksi with a certificate commemorating the accomplishment before acting out the story “The Phillie Phanatic’s Philly Story,” which transported the popular mascot back to colonial Philadelphia, as school principal Charlie Zimmerman narrated.

The top readers were invited to sit in a special VIR section to be up close to the Phanatic in action. They included: First graders Tyler Anderson and Eric Caveng; second graders Isabella Albright, Lily Consolo, Quinn Broadbelt, Lucas McCabe, Kali Messick, Ava Powers, Noah Raberi, Katie Richardson and Emma Venere; third graders Luke Ridgeway, Nyla Conrad, Lilly Jones, Avery Kraus, Paige Sawyer, Sophia Stazi, Destinee Sutton and William Gledhill; fourth graders Wil Brannigan, Delia Brannigan, Isaiah Dunleavy and Gianna Piperato; and fifth graders Faith Frizano and Matthew Robinson.

Wedgwood Elementary School students react to the Phillie Phanatic, who stopped by to congratulate the school for their strides in improving literacy on Monday, Jan. 22.

Founded in 2004, the program encourages students in grades kindergartehn through 12 to read for a minimum of 15 minutes a day to improve their literacy skills.

“Today we celebrate the work you have been doing every day to become better readers,” Zimmerman said. “We are proud of all of you.”

In addition to spreading the message of the importance of reading, the Phanatic danced, posed and entertained students and staff alike during the spirited assembly.