Top Dog Readers Club


What’s the latest with the Top Dog Readers Club?

Nearly two years into the program, the Top Dog Readers Club has soared to new heights! With new books donated this year, Mike Peterson has committed to keep up with the increasing demand the students have placed on the Grove Park Library. It’s a challenge that we welcome, because these students are truly developing a LOVE for READING! The students at Grove Park are reading at unprecedented rates and we can’t wait to see the total number of points achieved for the 2011-2012 school year. There are only a couple of months left in the school year so let’s READ READ READ!


In October 2010, the Mike Peterson Foundation partnered with Grove Park Elementary School in Atlanta, GA by helping fund and build the VERY FIRST playground Grove Park has ever had.  With additional partnership from the good folks at Home Depot, a new KaBOOM! playground changed the entire landscape of the once baron ground outside Grove Park.

After the ribbon cutting, Mike and his wife, Chantal, were so taken by Grove Park’s students, staff and principal Caitlin Sims, they decided to enhance his partnership and co-created and launched the Top Dog Readers Club. The goal was to increase independent reading and reaching achievement at Grove Park by offering unprecedented incentives and personal encouragement to the students at Grove Park.

The Top Dog Readers Club was open to 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students who could earn membership by earning points in Accelerated Reader.  To earn points, students must read a book on their assessed level then take a comprehension test on the book and score 80% mastery or higher.  Books they read were worth 0.5 to 2.0 points each.

Students who are the “Top Dogs” or top readers in each classroom each month are rewarded with a private coach bus and taken to the Falcons Training facility, given a private tour by #53 himself, an awards program with certificates, autographed “Top Dog” t-shirts, new books to read, and a pizza party.

Not wanting to exclude the lower grades, Mike visits Grove Park several during the school year and reads books aloud to all K, 1st, and 2nd grade classes, modeling and promoting the pleasure of reading.

Near the end of the Falcons season, the “Ultimate Top Dog” reader (the student with the most cumulative points overall) is awarded with a custom-made Mike Peterson Falcons jersey and VIP tickets for the student and their family to attend the last game of the season.

In just the first year of the program, Grove Park 3rd – 5th graders earned almost 1,500 more points than last year or any previous year since 2007 when the program started!  This means that at least 1,000 more books were read and mastered  at Grove Park in the 2010-2011 school year than ever before!

Because of the overwhelming success of the program, the Mike Peterson Foundation was nominated for the prestigious  Crystal Impact Award through Atlanta Partners for Education, a joint program of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and the Atlanta Public Schools.

To further prove the success of the program, the media specialist at Grove Park indicated he was overwhelmed with the volume of books being checked out and especially by the requests from boys for more books related to sports, adventure, and science-fiction.  Based on this new demand, he revised our book orders for the 2011-2012 year to meet the needs of a booming male readership, as well as a significant increase in volume among female readers. In addition, Grove Park has established a new club, specifically for boys, called the “Gridiron Gang”. This group of young male readers gather to share their love of reading and challenge themselves to set and achieve new reading goals.

Because of this new found love of reading, the program has been so successful that the students at Grove Park have out read their library! Yes, that’s right. The entire library! Mike Peterson has committed to filling the Grove Park library to the rafters with books beginning in the 2011-2012 school year so these eager learners can continue their love of reading! Click here to see a video of Mike kicking off the 2011-2012 program with a surprise visit to his favorite Atlanta students at Grove Park!

If you want to help, or donate books to the Grove Park Library, please contact us at or call (352) 897-0673.