GAITHERSBURG, Md. (WUSA9) -- At Thurgood Marshall Elementary, the whole school is involved in a competition where the winner gets to breathe a little fire.
Some students are focused on fiction while others are focused on facts, but everyone is focused on becoming better readers thanks to a hot new contest.
One scale at a time, each class is building a dragon by reading.
"My goal was to get the most scales in second grade and help my class win fire breathing dragon status," shared second grader Sammy Krimstein.
Fellow second grader Madison Monkevich explained, "Once a second grader reads 15 minutes they get one scale and when you're a third grader and up you have to read for 30 minutes to get one scale."
The hallways are bursting with color and pride as they go for their goals. One student reached 105 scales.
"Do you not sleep? Do you just read all the time?" asked Mike Hydeck.
"Whenever I have a break I read!" said Maya Ramamurthi.
The enthusiasm for the project started with second grade teacher Ms. Digiovani in January, but it didn't stop there. Top classes get recognized each week for their progress. Students have individual goals as well.
The contest has proven to be a real page-turner if you ask Jayden Armour: "I probably read about 23 different books."
"Do you read more now than you ever did?" Hydeck asked Sammy Krimstein.
Sammy replied, "Yes, definitely! This program really fired me up for reading!"