Governor's visit to Bester is one for the books

March 24, 1998|By DAVE McMILLION

by Joe Crocetta / staff photographer

see the enlargements by clicking on images

Governor at BesterGovernor's visit to Bester is one for the books

Gov. Parris Glendening sat on the floor in teacher Paige Fishack's second-grade classroom Monday and encouraged the students to join him for a reading lesson.

The students crowded around Glendening and laughed as he read the book, "The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash."

The visit was part of statewide effort by Glendening to promote reading. The governor plans to visit each county school system this year and read to students. He also is challenging elementary students to read 10 books this year.

After each reading session, he hands out bookmarks encouraging students to "Be a Rising Star." On the back of the bookmark is a place for the student to list the titles of 10 books the pupil has read.


If the student reaches the goal, the school mails the bookmark to the governor's office and Glendening sends the student a certificate.

Washington County is the 12th school district Glendening has visited.

Gov. reads story"It's been an experience," said fourth-grader Caitlin Nicewarner, one of a group of students who welcomed Glendening to the school.

Fourth-grader Jonathon Houser said the governor's visit was fun, although his reading habits were already established.

Jonathon said he likes reading monster stories, and looks forward to evenings at home when his brother reads him a story from the "Goosebumps" series.

Reading has been a big issue in the state recently, and locally the Washington County Board of Education has made reading a priority this year.

School officials said if students suffer in reading, they likely will struggle in other subjects because reading is a required skill in every class.

Schools have started dividing students into groups based on reading skill levels.

Under the format, talented students are not bored by a slow-paced class and slower readers get the individual attention they need, said schools spokeswoman Donna Messina.

Bester Elementary has bolstered its reading program even further with a $200,000 Maryland State Department of Education Challenge Grant.

The grant is being used to purchase a new computer lab with special reading software, said Principal William Wright.

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