Reading Until The Birds Come Home
Here is a fresh perspective on using pigeons in the
classroom. Tyler Garfield is an elementary school teacher in
Cedar City, Utah. Tyler found a unique way to get his students
Instead of the usual goal of finishing first, his kids strive to
finish last. Last, that is, to stop reading their books. The
Iron Springs Elementary School conducted a “readathon”
called “Reading Until The Birds Come Home.”
It started when Tyler brought his racing homing pigeons to
school to show his students. They loved the birds so much that
Tyler came up with the bright idea of encouraging reading
utilizing his birds.
He brought twenty of his racing pigeons to school with him. Each
bird was assigned to its own classroom and was given a name.
Tyler released the birds outside to students cheering. Then the
kids went back to their classrooms and read. They read until
their classroom’s bird arrived at Tyler’s home loft almost
twenty miles from the school. The students could stop reading
only when their assigned pigeon arrived home.
Tyler’s dad watched for birds arriving at the home loft and
reported to Tyler by mobile phone. Students started hoping their
bird would be last so they could read longer.
As a bonus at the end of the readathon, prizes were given for
the fastest and the slowest bird.
School administrators liked the idea of encouraging reading in
this unique and fun way. They intend to repeat the activity. It
is a win-win for the students, teachers and hobby promotion.
Several newer books are available to help kids get into reading
more. Some are stories about pigeons, which encourages reading
about the birds we love.
Kudos to Tyler Garfield for his creativity and passion for the