Asaying that started more than 50 years ago is still active today: Reading is fundamental. At Fremont Methodist Preschool, though, the students and staff take it a step further: Reading is essential.

When the memories of preschool for most people are memorizing your home phone number, finger painting and eating paste, it may be challenging to understand what is going on at Fremont Methodist. Every year, Director Shari Stewart sets a goal for each child in the preschool to read 100 books, most checked out from the Wayne County Public Library branch in Fremont. And every year the students exceed that goal, Stewart told the News-Argus.

This year, Stewart said, student Kelsie Smart led the school. She checked out 662 books. Let us repeat that: 662 books. In contrast, Iris Reading, a reading training provider, reports adult Americans read from four to 12 books per year. And the Pew Research Center shows that 79 percent of adult Americans prefer reading a book in print rather than an e-book or listening to an audiobook. The Pew Report is good news for the public library industry, but adults should take a cue from the kids at Fremont Methodist, for whom — as we said — reading is essential.

We are confident there are great reading programs in other pre- and primary schools, private or public, but Fremont Methodist adds an incentive we reported on Tuesday: For every 100 books students individually check out of the library, they are given the opportunity to throw one cream pie in Stewart’s face during a year-end celebration. That means Kelsie Smart had the chance to chuck six paper plates of whipping cream at Stewart. Based on the number of books students checked out over the year, 6,873, Stewart may have had to pick as many as 68 plates of whipping cream out of her hair. She’s a good sport.

We congratulate Stewart, Fremont Methodist, and especially the kids, for their efforts to enhance and make the best of education at the earliest age. You see, the kids at Fremont Methodist, since 2011, have checked out 40,762 books. It’s a number that seems unattainable. But the Fremont kids have done it. Wouldn’t it be great if such a reading effort were to become a norm rather than an exception?