Anyone walking around Miller-Driscoll and Cider Mill Schools today may spot Harry Potter, the Cat in the Hat or even Anne of Green Gables. In fact, there will likely be lots of literary characters wandering the halls and sitting in classrooms, as all students in Wilton’s grades PreK-5 are kicking off the 6th year of “Reading Rocks!“, the Wilton Education Foundation’s (WEF) fun and non-competitive read-a-thon fundraiser. With Friday as the first day of the program that encourages children to have fun reading, this year organizers decided to start the fun with a “Dress Like Your Favorite Book Character” day to get students excited.

Over the first five years, WEF’s “Reading Rocks!” program raised more than $200,000 in total for Wilton schools. This effort helped WEF fund SMARTBoard purchases, an iPad Learning Lab, the iPad Institute, professional development for teachers, literacy initiatives in Miller-Driscoll and Cider Mill, performing arts programs and more.

“Reading Rocks!” asks each student to choose his or her own goal for the Read-A-Thon–independent reading; reading with an adult or sibling; flipping through a picture book; reading via Skype with a far-away relative, or any other possible option. Students collect pledges from family and friends to support their commitment to reading, turning them in by Friday, Jan. 27; they then have from Jan. 28-Feb. 12 to complete their reading goals.

What’s more, there are several prizes and rewards, including extra recess, homework-free days, an iPad and Kindle Fires. Plus, all students can “Dress Like a Rock Star” on Jan. 27. There may even be some familiar grown-ups dressed like rock stars too, just as superintendent Dr. Kevin Smith and Cider Mill principal Dr. Jennifer Mitchell did a few years back (pictured above).

Registration and pledge forms will come home with students on Friday, Jan. 6. Additional information and links to all the forms are available on the Cider Mill website and the Miller Driscoll website.

“Reading Rocks!” is sponsored by the Stroup Family.