Students aim for record books

February 10, 1997


Staff Writer

Old Forge Elementary School second-grader Jenna Burns can't remember all the titles, but she knows she already has read enough books this month to qualify as a member of her school's Reading Club.

Burns, 7, said she likes reading - especially books about dogs - and plans to keep up her club membership by reading at least four books in both March and April.

If all 420 of the school's students take that approach, they'll easily reach the Reading Club program's school-wide goal of 4,000 books by the end of April, said parent volunteer Elizabeth LaRue.


In addition to working toward the school-wide goal, students earn rewards - ranging from a club button to a free bowling game to an ice cream party - for being in the club, LaRue said.

They also compete at each grade level for class rewards, she said.

Getting students excited about reading outside of school is what the program - sponsored by the school's PTA - is all about, said Principal Ronald F. Phillips.

The combined support of parents and staff has helped make the program successful in past years, he said.

Students enjoy the program's fun approach, said Phillips, who a few years ago spent time on his school's roof to satisfy a bet that students wouldn't chalk up 300,000 minutes by the end of the program.

Last year, organizers took a break to evaluate the program and make some changes, said parent volunteer Jean Bryson.

This year, students' reading will be measured in books instead of minutes, making it compatible with Pizza Hut's reading incentive program, she said.

Students started gearing up for the Reading Club program in December, when they were challenged to design a contest logo, Bryson said.

Each grade had a winner, with the top prize going to second-grader Kimberly Happel's "Reading Brightens Your Mind" design, she said.

Students were allowed to start reading toward their goal on Feb. 1, Bryson said.

Many already have met the first month's goal or are well on their way.

Fifth-grader Danielle Follett said she likes being able to help her class and earn rewards by doing something she loves to do anyway.

Follett, 10, a fiction fan, said she's finished her required four books and is now working on "Absolutely Normal Chaos," a book about a girl whose life goes awry when her cousin visits.

Fifth-grader Ricky Lewis said he is halfway to this month's goal with "Vampire Breath" and "Cuckoo Clock of Doom," two books from the Goosebumps series.

Lewis, 10, said he doesn't foresee any problems meeting the Reading Club requirements given his passion for the series.

"I just like reading them," he said. "You just get excited at parts where you don't know what will happen next."

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