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The Hog Mollies are ready to excite second-graders about reading

Board of education member Gary Feagin reads “The Hog Mollies and the Amazing Aquatic Adventure” to Woodland Elementary School second-graders.

      The Hog Mollies – Duke, Sprout, Hoppy and Harley -- officially became part of Mansfield City Schools Tuesday morning with the help of Gary Feagin, a member of the board of education.

      By the end of next week they will have visited every second-grade classroom in the district. They will remain there – a new adventure each month – through May.

      Superintendent Stan Jefferson said the district has partnered with The Ohio State University’s 2nd and 7 Foundation in “tackling illiteracy.”

      The Hog Mollies are a four-member club of cute and colorful characters in a series of children’s books designed to encourage young children to read. The books, which now number 12, are the product of the 2nd and 7 Foundation started 20 years ago by former Ohio State University football players Mike Vrabel, Luke Fickell and Ryan Miller.

      Each book contains a life-lesson storyline, such as kindness, understanding each other and helping others.

      Tuesday morning Gary Feagin, a member of the board of education, became the first of 13 volunteer readers – other board members and central office administrators – who will read at Prospect, Sherman, Springmill STEM and Woodland elementary schools and the Spanish Immersion School.

      Feagin read “The Hog Mollies and the Amazing Aquatic Adventure” to Woodland second-graders in the classroom of teachers Jill Danison and Dawn Williams. The story centers on the Hog Mollies’ objection to having a girl join them for a school project before they realize that they all have much in common.

      Hands were raised and waving as Feagin asked questions about what the students had learned.

      Superintendent Stan Jefferson said the 2nd and 7 program has expanded to 26 states and more than 400,000 free books have been distributed to second-graders.

      “I am so pleased that we can bring this program to our second-graders. Our goal is to increase literacy by getting our kids excited about reading as they share the books with positive role models,” Jefferson said.

      “Each month that a Hog Mollies book is read to a second-grade classroom, every student will receive a free copy to take home. By the end of the school year each boy and girl will have a complete set to read and re-read.”

      Volunteer readers will follow the same format each month. They will visit classrooms to read the book, then return two weeks later to discuss it again and help students complete written activities at the end of the story. For example, the concluding page of “The Hog Mollies and the Amazing Aquatic Adventure” allows children to complete “Something unique about me is…”

      Jefferson will be one of the readers along with board of education members Judy Forney, Sheryl Weber and Renda Cline.

      Also scheduled to read are:

      -- Jonathan Burras, director of special education

      -- Winston Greene, district testing coordinator

      -- Veronica Payne, gifted and talented coordinator

      -- Stephen Rizzo, chief academic officer

      -- Holly Christie, director of student support programs

      -- Mark Wilcheck, human resources director

      -- Larry Gibbs, public relations coordinator

      -- Shirley Jordan, Oasis of Love Church

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