At Sunnyside Elementary in Minot, they turned their award-winning grant into a three-day celebration of reading. 

They’re calling it Sunnyside Bakery and Books, and that means a free book and cupcake for every student. 

Imagine if you’re favorite bakery also served up free books and cupcakes. 

That’s what’s happening at Sunnyside Elementary in Minot. They’re celebrating summer reading with a book tasting. 

They’re going to take a look at some of the books that we have for them and decide if it looks like a book they’re interested in or not at our book tasting and also taste some of the cupcakes,” said Medalen. 

North Dakota United teamed up with First Book and the American Federation of Teachers to provide grants for free books to four Title 1 schools across the state of North Dakota. Sunnyside was selected, along with Dunseith Elementary School, Jeannette Myrhe Elementary School in Bismarck and Eastwood Elementary School in West Fargo, to receive grants to purchase books for all their students at the end of the school year and promote summer reading. 

The three-day event at Sunnyside includes guest readers including former students and Minot’s Fire Chief. 

It’s a lot of fun, but literacy is something Sunnyside School takes seriously. Medalen says on average kids without books in their homes are academically three years behind those who do. 

And I love the kids that when they took the books over into our reading area and they read the books they said we get to keep these books, forever? And so just to see that excitement on their face about reading that’s what we want, we want them to enter into the summer months and be excited about reading and hopefully pick up a book everyday so that they can kind of not have that much summer regression,” Medalen said. 

And there are dozens of reasons the kids like to read. 

Because it takes me to a world of imagination,” said Aiyana McCauley. 

Try new books and like read other books and impress other kids. We also get to have a cupcake,” said Leland Grigsby. 

You can see there are many books to choose from, but it wasn’t hard to decide what to order. 

“What was really fun to is I had a group of students come in and help select the books so I had them come in and I went right to the FirstBook website and scrolled down and the kids said “that one, that one” and really awesome that we could include some student choice in the book selection,” Medalen said. “What a great thing that North Dakota United is doing for us and helping us out with FirstBook to put books in these kids’ hands.” 

And you might say — the students are really into book tasting.