Larks Reading Program

What is the Reading Program?

The Farmers Union Insurance Reading Program encourages students in the Bismarck-Mandan and surrounding areas to read. The more books they read, the more opportunities they have to earn super cool prizes such as a Larks Pencil and eraser, a pass to Dakota Zoo, Zip-lining in Medora and/or a free meal at Pizza Ranch! This program is great because it encourages kids to read in a way that is fun and rewarding. 

Over the course of four years, our reading program has more than doubled in size. This past spring, more than 7,000 students, 383 classrooms and 30 schools participated in the program.


Kicking off the Reading Program in STYLE!

This year our Director of Fun, Matt Wurnig, helped kick off the reading program in his dashing yellow suit. He traveled to numerous schools with Clark and Merifeather across the state of North Dakota and celebrated reading with bookworms of all ages! 

We sat down with Matt and got the inside scoop on his Reading Program adventures…

How many towns did you go to?

We went to over 20 towns. Some of these towns included Glen Ullin, Hebron, New Salem, Center, Lincoln, Turtle Lake, Underwood, Washburn, Menoken, Medina and so many others!

How many miles did you travel?

Over 1,100 miles!

Was there anything memorable about the schools you went to?

I love seeing the time and effort schools put into making reading FUN! Some schools have a certain theme and decorate the entire school. One school we went to, Center Stanton, was completely decked out! They had completely transformed their hallway into a jungle, floor to ceiling. At the Reading assembly, they even had a crocodile and dinosaur join Clark and Merifeather in front of everybody. It was amazing seeing how Center really made an effort to make the Reading Program an exciting experience for the kids.

Some schools even encourage students to dress-up for the assembly!

Every school has so much energy.  Making kids smile and building relationships with the teachers and administrators at each school is overwhelmingly rewarding.

What was one of the favorite schools you visited and why?

Centennial. Because (laughing) the kids were chanting and SOOOO loud. They were unbelievably energetic. Clark and Merifeather loved their energy, too. The kids even got Merifeather and Clark to face-off in a dance-off. I believe Clark the Lark won when he “Caught the Woah.”

Which mascot has better dance moves, Clark or Merifeather?

Aw, man! That’s not even fair! Clark’s got some pretty sweet moves that no one knows he has. His dab is on-point. But Merifeather can floss better than anyone I know!

What’s your goal for the Reading Program moving forward into the years to come?I’d really love to expand the reading program even more and continue to increase the number of participating students, classrooms and schools year-after-year. Some days I have one assembly, some I have three or four. My hope is for three solid weeks, I have three assemblies a day!

Traveling all across the state, you had the chance to stop and eat at some ma and pop cafes in a few towns. Describe the hospitality and some of the delicious meals you ate.
In Hebron we ate at the Wagon Wheel. I had the Pork Chops and Zach, our intern, had the Bacon Cheeseburger with Knoephla Soup. The service was amazing there!

In Underwood we ate at the Rusted Rail and that place was so awesome!  I had the Walley Wrap and Zach had the Philly Cheese Steak with Famous Tots. Super delicious food!

In Medina we ate at Home Cookin’ Cafe. Zach and I both had the Bacon Cheeseburger with Knoephla Soup. Did you know you get free complimentary ice cream with every meal you order there? Yeah, that was pretty sweet.

What was your favorite?

Rusted Rail. That place was delicious. If you have not been there, then you gotta go because that is a hidden gem. I would literally drive the 50 minutes just to go eat there again!

Anything you want to say to all the bookworms out there?

I want to let all the kids know I appreciate them. You all make my day each time I visit your school! Be sure to keep reading. Hit your goals. And I hope to see you all at the ballpark this summer!  Celebrating reading with all of you is the best three weeks of the year!

Students get to attend reading program day at the ballpark if they hit a home run on their goal sheet. The Larks Reading Program is jam packed with fun educational activities for kids of all ages and is meant to motivate students to embrace reading and set goals for themselves that help them to be the best they can be. We believe the Larks Reading Program will help each student become a better reader and overall, a better student.

Be a bookworm. Be part of the Larks Reading Program.

The Larks and Farmers Union Insurance believe in the importance of building impactful programs in our community. Together we have implemented the Larks Reading Program to help children of all ages hit their reading goals, one base at a time!

The Larks Reading Program provides students with incentives and prizes when they hit a single, double, triple and home run.

Teachers set their own goals for their classroom. These goals are based on pages read, books read, time spent reading, etc. If the child hits a home run they receive an out-of-the park experience courtesy of the Larks and Farmers Union Insurance.


For more information or to find out how your student or school can get involved contact: