HERKIMER, NY (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – On Monday, March 20, Herkimer Elementary students kicked off their annual reading program with an assembly that featured a storyteller and a challenge.

The program, known as Pick A Reading Partner (PARP), encourages students to read with a partner for at least 20 minutes, for at least ten of the 14 days of the program. The program, whose theme this year is “Let’s ‘Taco’ ‘Bout Books,” started off on Monday with an assembly at the school, that included Ithaca author Regi Carpenter. Carpenter spoke about her childhood, where she was asked to write a play for school, and how she came up with a play about two slices of bread: one with peanut butter, and one with jelly.

To go along with the theme, the students will be making crafts to go along with the theme, as well as reading the book “Dragons Love Tacos” by Adam Rubin.

Other events going on during the two-week program include a Family Fun Night on Thursday, March 30 as well as Library Club members telling their fellow students what they are reading on the morning announcements.

The assembly also came with a challenge: if students can combine to read a total of 50,000 hours during the two weeks, their principal and assistant principal will attempt to break a pinata full of candy at an assembly on Thursday, April 6. The class that reads the most hours will get all the candy that comes out.