Driven to read

Medal a reward for bookworms

Medal a reward for bookworms

May 19, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

Although some students at Sharpsburg Elementary School might say they don't like reading, they have a funny way of showing it: The school has been named the Maryland Small Site State Champion of Read With Me: The 2003 Reading is Fundamental Community Reading Challenge.

The Washington County school was selected from among more than 1,100 Reading is Fundamental sites across the state.

All 302 students received a "RIF" Medal for participation. In addition, the school receives a national Reading is Fundamental banner, $200 gift cards from Borders Books, balloons and surprises.

Students pledged to read an hour or more daily for two weeks, said Karen Stroup, Sharpsburg Elementary School principal.

They spent more than 2,500 hours reading, she said.

Second-grade student Justice Edwards, 8, said he likes to read and benefited from the challenge.

"It made me feel as if I was in more school," Edwards said.

He said he read 100 books during the challenge time period.


Students kept track of the amount of time they spent reading in a notebook called "Passport to Reading" supplied by Reading is Fundamental.

Children were given points based on how many hours a day they spent reading and were given bonus points if they finished extra reading projects.

For example, 10 bonus points were given if a student drew a family tree with family members' names and their favorite books, held a family reading relay by asking family members to read aloud a part of the same book or created a "Shhh, I'm reading" door sign to use during the challenge.

Second-grade student Reiker Boules, 7, said he read 102 books, but he doesn't like reading.

"Thirty-one pages was like 1,000 hundred million pages," he said.

When asked why he read so many books, Reiker jokingly pounded his small fist onto the cafeteria table.

"I was forced," he said.

Second-grade student Karli Lewis, 8, said, "I don't like reading books. I like to read short ones, but I don't like to read long ones."

But Karli and Reiker were among 175 students who were invited to attend the principal's special program, "Campfire Reading Night," during which students who read twice as many books as they were required to were rewarded.

The "campfire" was held in the school's cafeteria on a February night. Stroup said children sat on the floor wrapped in sleeping bags and blankets, listened to guest speakers read books and watched teachers perform zany skits.

Students recently released balloons with cards attached to them that bore the names of their favorite books.

Stroup said a call already has come in that a balloon was found in Hartley, Del.

Second-grade teacher Sharon Ingram said she notices that since the challenge, students seem to understand more of what they're reading.

"If you can read, you can be successful," she said.

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