Would you ever guess young children would scream in excitement about reading? If you answered no, check out the above video of the Learning Community’s first Pick a Reading Partner celebration of the year on Friday, Nov. 3. Students could not contain their excitement after learning they met their schoolwide reading goal for the month: 84 percent of TLC students read at least six books with their reading partners during October.
TLC tracks its progress toward its monthly reading goals by filling a cylinder with ping pong balls that represent books read by students. The cylinder is decorated like a beanstalk, as this year’s PARP theme is “Jack and the Beanstalk.” Friday was the school’s first check-in, and teachers took turns filling the cylinder with ping pong balls. As the beanstalk “grew,” so did the energy of the crowd.
“Almost every student and staff member in TLC wore their PARP T-shirts and we filled our beanstalk on stage,” Tammy Staie of the TLC Media Center said. “It looked amazing to see the sea of white shirts. The kids were over-the-top excited to watch the ping pong balls go into the beanstalk, especially as we got closer and closer to reaching our goal.”
TLC Principal Bradley Strait says the goal is to have all TLC students read six or more books with their reading partner every month. Students should keep track of their reading on their PARP sheets and return them to school by the monthly due date.
In the past, the PARP program has provided individualized incentives for students who meet their reading goals. This year, the program has changed to provide incentives for the entire school. If at least 75 percent of the school’s students can meet their reading goals every month, they will enjoy perks such as Pajama Day or extra recess time. If at least 90 percent of the students meet their reading goals, the rewards may include a bounce house, a movie day or having Mr. Strait dress as a giant to read stories.
“We are still going to reward students who reach the 250, 500 and 1,000 book levels. But by providing incentives for the whole school, it shows we’re working together as a team,” Strait said.
Research shows that reading to your child just 15 minutes a day outside of the regular school day can go a long way in supporting their education. Students’ reading partners can model expression and pronunciation, and it gives students opportunities to learn new vocabulary and ask questions for reading comprehension.
Children can check books out of the media center and can take books home as part of the 1,000 Book Club, which has been fully restocked for this school year.