Students Nearly Double Reading
in 2013 Summer Reading Challenge


Students around the globe have a reason to celebrate: They set a new world record for summer reading! Kids representing all 50 U.S. states and 30 countries read and logged 176,438,473 minutes as part of the 2013 Scholastic Summer Challenge ™, a no-cost program designed to keep kids reading throughout the summer months. Andrew Jackson Elementary School in McAllen, Texas, ranks as the No.1 school with 6,333,482 minutes logged.

In this year’s challenge, students nearly doubled the 2012 world record of 95,859,491 minutes. “This program motivates like nothing else,” says Frank Loose, senior manager of marketing at Scholastic Book Fairs®. “We’ve seen it ignite a love for reading in kids who previously wouldn’t pick up a book outside of the classroom.”

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Houston Principal Scott Corrick of Hill Intermediate School – which ranked No. 5 worldwide – witnessed the transformation among his own students. “I walked through the library and approached one of my sixth-graders logging her minutes,” he shares. “She was excited to show me that she had read 51,300 minutes this summer. She continued to tell me that she never liked to read much. The best part is she loves to read now.”

Fourth-grade teacher Katie Nelson of Hillcrest Elementary School, the No. 1 ranking school in Wisconsin, heard about the program through her Facebook newsfeed. “I contacted our principal, Rob Vanderloop, to spread the word and invite other grade levels to join in helping Hillcrest read over the summer.” Before long, all the school’s K-5 classrooms were registered.

With Rob’s support and help from students, Katie widely promoted the competition using posters, a regularly updated school bulletin board, bookmarks, and incentives such as popcorn parties. “We also came up with the idea of doing a few Drop Everything and Read events throughout the final weeks of school,” Katie shares. “Rob came on the intercom and announced that all students would be reading for the next 20 minutes to increase our school’s reading minutes. I can’t even begin to explain how excited my kids were whenever this happened!”

The students at Stuart Public School, a rural Nebraska school with 96 students from kindergarten through sixth grades, certainly rose to the challenge by ranking 17th worldwide and first in their state with 1,639,619 minutes. “I don’t think it’s sunk in yet what a big deal this is,” admits Title 1 coordinator and reading coach Judy Dvorak.

Her students were inspired by being “part of something much bigger than just our school,” Judy says, with the school achieving its goal “by everybody doing their part.” Now students can’t seem to stop reading – a reality upon which Judy will capitalize by participating in READ 100,000. “It’s so fun to hear parents say, ‘Every time I turn around, they’re reading.’ They’re reading at sports events, they’re reading at snack time, and I’m not the instigator anymore.”

For Principal Sylvia Ibarra of the No. 1 school, Andrew Jackson Elementary School, the contest was never about winning. It was about reading. “It’s about instilling in them a love for reading – not just for the competition but for life,” she insists. “We’re winners by reading. They’re not regressing over the summer.”

“It’s about instilling in them a love for reading – not just for the competition but for life. We’re winners by reading.”
– Principal Sylvia Ibarra, Jackson Elementary School,
where students read 6,333,482 minutes
Sylvia decided to incorporate the program as one of a long stream of literacy initiatives in her Title 1 school. Although Jackson Elementary is about 48 percent limited English-proficient, the principal knew her school community would be on board. “Our families are so involved with their children,” Sylvia raves. “We have to maximize these opportunities to make sure our parents are involved with their children, especially to promote literacy.”

Sylvia collaborated with librarian Gloria Covarrubia to promote the program among students, who were highly motivated by a potential visit from Captain Underpants author Dav Pilkey. A Millionaire’s Club for million-word readers, assemblies, phone calls, and letters also helped build excitement – as did access to books.

The district distributed iPads® loaded with 20 books to each student, and teachers encouraged students to download Scholastic’s no-cost Storia® app to receive an additional five free books. Also, students received hundreds of free books at a community fair.

Read-a-thons helped students log additional minutes, and bused students, who arrive early, logged even more minutes by reading before school began. Students who lacked internet access at home kept paper logs, which teachers helped input as children participated in their final read-a-thon.

The read-a-thons and competition may be over, but the excitement for reading has not waned. “The message to them is they have to continue reading. The momentum is still going,” insists Sylvia.

Looking to maintain the reading momentum at your school? Register your students for READ 100,000, which gives your students and your school community an easy, no-cost and fun way to set and reach reading goals.

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