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Mario inspires reading at St. Mary’s

By April 13, 2022No Comments
Students at St. Mary’s Elementary School cheer on their classmates during a MarioKart Reading Race challenge last Friday. Taylor Weaver Meridian Source


Students at St. Mary’s Elementary School have been reading up a storm since the beginning of March during the school’s MarioKart Reading Race.

Each class got to select an avatar from various Mario games that ranged from Mario himself down to his brother’s arch-rival, Waluigi.

“It’s a reading challenge and is basically designed to stimulate kids in reading, but it’s only reading during school times for this challenge,” said teacher Rick Lucas, adding the fact the challenge lined up perfectly with March 10 being International Mario Day. 

“If the kids arrive early in the morning they can start to read, and some kids have actually been turning down watching movies at lunch because they want to read more to get the edge on other classes to read.”

The avatars are moved forward on the school’s track every morning depending on how many minutes that class read the day prior. 

Student daily minutes only include the minutes they read while at school.

“There are challenges and bonuses along the way, just like life,” said Lucas. 

The competition has two different levels, K-Grade 4 and Grade 5-7. 

“The MarioKart Reading Race has really captured the imagination of students and staff,” he said. 

“Everything from the student volunteers collecting daily minutes, students assisting staff in updating the leader board, students working with students to update avatars on the raceway circumnavigating the inner square of the school, etc.”

Rowan, a Grade 4 student at St. Mary’s, said her class picked to play as Toad, and they’re doing quite well in the challenge.

“I feel like my class is reading 10 times more now because we’re always reading for half an hour in the morning, a half an hour before and after lunch; I feel like we’re just reading so much more,” she said. “It’s very fun because you get to see everyone race around, and it’s really fun to see who will win, what will happen next, what the next challenge will be, or how many points you’ll get in a day.”

Piper, a Grade 6 student, said the reading challenge has been a blast so far.

“I think the MarioKart challenge is pretty cool because they’re making a challenge out of a video game, but we’re all still learning. You have a bunch of challenges, and they’re all a lot of fun,” she said. 

For Lucas, he said the most impressive aspect of the challenge has been how involved the students have gotten. 

“The kids are very excited to read and they’re looking at reading time, whether it’s in the hallways or the classroom, as gifted time,” he said.

“The kids are reading more because of this game we’re playing, but what’s great is they’re also finding the passion in reading, which is awesome.”

The winning class from each level of competition will be awarded a Mario party in May.