By Jason KUROSU
The groups of children scattered throughout campus, sitting at every available spot, sprawled across playground equipment and asphalt with their faces buried in books, may have seemed like a strange April Fools prank the school was playing. But April 1 was actually the kick-off for Valley View Elementary’s Read-A-Thon, a month-long effort to promote reading. Each class spent about half an hour outside to read.
Holiday Woodward’s first grade class took their books to the playground equipment. Woodward’s class has the distinction of being the first class in Valley View’s history to have every student in the class reach the school wide goal for AR (Accelerated Reader) points. The goal was 10 points for each student (points based on either the amount of books or pages read by each student) and many of Woodward’s students have already exceeded that mark.
Accelerated Reader director Shelley Owens noted that “AR has been at Valley View for 10 years,” making the class’ success that much more noteworthy.
The success of students like those in Woodward’s class also aids the school in attaining school supplies, as Valley View is receiving donations based on the amount of points earned by the students.
“The donations go towards buying new curriculum workbooks for next year,” said Owens.
To celebrate their history-making feat, Woodward’s class brought not only their favorite books outside, but also balloons, with the title of their book attached to the strings of the balloons on small pieces of paper. The kids piled onto the steps of the playground structure with balloons bound to their wrists and books at their fingertips.
“We read to succeed and soar with writing!” the class announced in unison and the Balloon Launch commenced.
They counted down and released the balloons into the morning blue. The students watched in awe for a moment and then actively began tracking their balloon’s flight in order to see if theirs was higher than the rest.
“I am so proud of my class,” Woodward said. “I just had to give them the challenge and they responded. Some of them coming in had just barely started to read, but they did it.”
In addition, Woodward is challenging her students to reach 25 points by June 15 and is posing the challenge to the rest of the first grade classes.
First grader Ryan Chi, who read “20, 25 books” to reach his 10 point goal, was clear on his intent to reach the June target. When asked about his goal, he responded with determination, “I’m aiming for 25 points.”