Tennerton Elementary School Principal Tristen Gray 'goes pink' Thursday during a reading reward celebration at the school. During the summer, TES's 300 students read more than 4,000 books.

TENNERTON – During summer break, students engage in a variety of activities, including swimming, playing, watching television, attending camps and helping around the house.

But before the academic year ends, teachers ask students not to forget to add one other activity to their busy summer schedules – reading, reading and reading.

This summer, the students at Tennerton Elementary School really listened to their teachers and throughout their summer break, the 300 students read an incredible 4,000 books, according to school officials.

So, on Thursday, TES students gathered in the school’s gymnasium to congratulate the top readers and enjoy a Summer Reading Celebration, the highlight of which was TES Principal Tristen Gray getting his hair dyed pink.

Gray allowed one teacher to spray paint his hair pink in recognition of the fine job the TES students did over the summer months reading books.

The top three TES students recognized for their Summer Reading were first place, Abigail Barnett who read an impressive 206 books; second place, Amelia Morehead, who completed an amazing 160 books; and third place, Caroline Kelly, who pored through 138 books.

The top three summer readers were, from left, Caroline Kelly, Amelia Morehead and Abigail Barnett.

Abigail said she is proud for winning the Summer Reading competition.

“But I also feel that everyone else did a great job, too!” Abigail said.

Abigail said she is really into warriors, and her favorite books are in the “Warriors” series by Erin Hunter.

“I just really enjoy reading the Warrior books,” she said.

A fourth-grader, Abigail is the daughter of Sean and Denise Barnett of Buckhannon.

She shared her thoughts on reading.

“Reading is inspiring,” Abigail said. “It’s very creative and it is so cool that words on paper can get the imagination and pictures in your head and enables you to imagine what you read.”

Students recognized for reaching the bronze level for Summer Reading include Madison Brown, Michael Jones, Molly Tucker, Julian Green, Andrew Perry, Rose Davidson, Megan Lantz, Kayla Smith, Madelyn Tucker, Jaiden Smith, Elsie Chidester and Robert Smith.

Bronze-level readers at Thursday’s celebration.

Tennerton Elementary School students recognized for their silver level Summer Reading include Karter Plymale, Mason Ashcraft, Parker Lamb, Brycen Hommema, Kara Hildreth, Robert Howard, Andi Casto, Dayla Weatherholt, Hudson Riffle, Braylee Turansky, Zef Bednarski, Brooks Tucker, Clayton Lantz, Jackson Richards, Briston Hyre, Harper Currence, Sophia Aegan and Nora Malone.

TES silver-level readers.

Those recognized for attaining the highest level, or gold level, Summer Reading recognition were Mikey Rutting, Berkeley Jeran, Caroline Kelly, Ella Massie, Lily Morehead, Shannon Cutright, Amelia Morehead, Hayden Anderson, Madi Bennett, Owen Cutright, Brady Hommema and Abigail Barnett.

Gold-level readers at Thursday’s reading rewards celebration.

Before Thursday’s celebration, Principal Gray sat down with My Buckhannon to share some tips for encouraging students to read more books.

“Let kids read what they want to read – especially if it is something at their grade level,” Gray said. “And if they want to read the same book over and over, let them do it – there is nothing wrong with that.”

Gray said the goal is to get books into kids’ hands.

“The more they can read, the better. It can be a comic book, magazine or a novel. We just want kids to read,” he said.

Gray said another good idea is for children to read to their younger siblings or a pet.

“Read to mom and dad, read to grandma and grandpa or read to yourself,” Gray said. “Read out loud, read in your head – lots of kids will journal what they read so they can go back and reflect on what they read. If kids struggle to read, reading aloud to a pet is perfect because they won’t judge you ever.”