Bitz Intermediate School’s parent teacher association and staff rolled out the red carpet Monday in recognition of certain students’ reading accomplishments. The school’s annual Read Like a Millionaire Challenge called upon students, teachers and parents to flex their mental muscles and Monday saw those who did rewarded accordingly.

Bitz Intermediate students formed a row along a red carpet put together by members of the PTA to congratulate students who had read over one million words. The students who had achieved that goal got to take a stroll down the red carpet along with teachers and chaperones all dressed in their flashiest finery. Awaiting them were limousines ready to take students to the USO of North Carolina for a day of dancing and ice cream alongside their fellow students.

“Our students and teachers know the greatest reward for reading like a Bitz millionaire is learning to love reading as a cheap and universally available leisure time activity,” said Dr. Mary Beth Poole, a reading specialist. “Many of our students are now reading because they love to learn; because they enjoy learning more about our world and the people who inhabit our world. We teachers know that students improve their spelling and writing through seeing the printed word. We also know reading sparks students’ curiosity. The more they know, the more they want to know about the many topics that interest them.”

The number of words students read is monitored by tests submitted to the Reading Counts program. Students who reach benchmarks of 250,000 to one million words throughout the year are recognized through intercom announcements and bulletin board posts. Upon reaching one million words, students are represented on the school’s TV News station.

Among the cheering students supporting their colleagues who achieved their lofty goal were parents who attended to take photos and show their support as well. Queen’s “We Are The Champions” played over the intercom as students made their way to the limousines, which were provided by the PTA and Excel Limousine Service.

“We do this every year,” said Brenda Kay, a manager and driver with Excel Limousine Service. “It’s all about the kids.”

Poole mentioned that, as far as resources to keep kids reading over the summer, Onslow County’s and Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune’s libraries provide a variety of media.

“Both offer e-books and other digital resources as well as traditional books,” Poole said.