Archived Stories for Union County Public Schools
#1 in North Carolina and #2 in the World
The students at Sun Valley Elementary School spent their summer vacation reading for 2,567,912 minutes. Placing them first in North Carolina and second in the world in the Scholastic Summer Challenge.
About 684 students participated, tracking their reading minutes online throughout the summer. For students who did not have access to a computer, they kept track of their minutes and logged them in during the first week of school.
“They really just went all out and we have been tracking it every day all summer,” Kevin Vickers, school library media coordinator at Sun Valley Elementary, said.
Vickers was surprised by the second place finish, “because I was shooting for first,” he said.
In the past, the school has placed in the top 20.
Vickers and the students tracked their standings throughout the summer. In the end, Brooksville Elementary School in Florida took first with more than 3 million minutes of reading.
The students were initially not happy about second, though Vickers told them it was “nothing to sneeze at” and pointed out that they beat their own school record of two million minutes.
“They were extremely competitive,” Vickers said.
Their hunger for reading did not end when the summer did, Vickers said. Students will tell him in the hallway that they’ve been reading and it will open up a dialogue about what they read, how long they read and what they learned.
“It’s all about reading with me,” Vickers said.
The passion for reading also inspired the parent teacher organization’s biggest fundraiser last year. The PTO held a read-a-thon, where people pledged money for the number of minutes students read. It was a success and they hope to have it again this year, Vickers said.
In addition to reading, students improved their computer skills by using the website to track their minutes. Vickers also made graphs to illustrate how many minutes the grade levels had read, opening a discussion about math and graphs.
“It was all tied in to information technology,” Vickers said.
It also exposed all of the students to reading.
“If anything came out, the fact is everybody in our school knew about reading,” Vickers said. “They were exposed to a reading initiative...one way or another, they got that exposure and they’re still carrying on with it.”
“They’re hungry for it,” Vickers said.
More than 193,000 children from 50 states and 25 countries participated in the summer challenge this year. Combined, they read for 95,859,491 minutes, breaking last year’s world record. The top schools will be featured in the “2013 Scholastic Book of World Records.”
“It is crucial for kids to read during the summer so they don’t lose any of the academic skills they gained throughout the school year. We are so impressed by how many minutes the children read for. This summer, every child was a winner,” Francie Alexander, chief academic officer at Scholastic, said in a statement.
Written by: Enquirer Journal
Posted: Nov 07, 2012 by Kevin Vickers