Reading Challenge

Our local school district has always been big on literacy. At least, that’s what I both remember from my school days, Auntie’s days after I left school, and Ane’s experiences now.

When we moved to the district (back in ye olden days of 1987), the elementary school that (eventually) all four of us attended had what they called a “100,000 Page Club” – where you would list off the books that you read on a blue card, have a parent initial each line to verify that you had read the book listed, and once you hit 100,000 pages, your name went up on a big list in the library. It was more of a prestige deal than anything else, because even though it was a school-wide program, it wasn’t mandatory. Still, being a bookworm, I enjoyed it. A lot.

Once the Captain, Ressis and I had all left elementary school, that particular program eventually disappeared. It might have even gone away by the time Ressis was leaving the school – I don’t recall. But by the time Auntie was in elementary school, the focus had shifted from number of pages read to actual time spent reading. And this may have been district-wide, because Auntie’s junior high had a similar program (which I think was mandatory for all the students) that I remember she had to read for, but I don’t remember if they were counting time or pages in junior high.

Anyway, Ane’s elementary school (not the same one my siblings and I attended) just launched its literacy program for the school year. It is school-wide and heavily encouraged, as was evidenced by the “reading contract” that came home that both students and parents signed and sent back, but I don’t believe that it is mandatory.

This program is called “The 25 Club.” For 25 days, students are either supposed to read, or be read to, for 15 minutes a day. And we’re not supposed to double up – you know, skip a day and then read for 30 minutes the next day. The aim is to get kids reading consistently and daily. For every sheet of 25 turned in, there are certificates and incentives involved – though we have no idea what they are.

If you know anything about our daily schedule with the kids, this is something relatively easy for us to do. Long ago, we got in the habit of reading to the kids at both naptime and bedtime each day – almost to the point to where the Webmaster and I have backed ourselves into a corner with both kids, because this is something they NEED in order to settle down at night. We do suspend it for certain reasons – if a kid is in trouble, they may end up forfeiting their story, or if it is just way too late when we get home (Wednesday nights come to mind), we may skip it. But this is a pretty normal part of our everyday lives.

The REAL advantage in this was getting Ane involved in longer books. A short story book like a Berenstain Bears paperback or an Olivia book doesn’t equal 15 minutes of reading – that is, unless Ane herself is reading it, and she’s not up for doing much of that yet. So, we’ve been getting a lot of chapter books read that Ane had put on hold.

She and I finally finished up On the Banks of Plum Creek, and we kept going with the Junie B., First Grader series. When those are done, we’ll go back and read Farmer Boy, but then I’m really going to either have to make Ane work on her reading, or find another good chapter series to start. She watched The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe recently when it was on TV, but I’m not sure the book would hold her interest as much. Grandma suggested the Boxcar Children series, and I own a sizeable chunk of the original stories, but again, I’m not sure if mysteries are Ane’s thing. I’ve also been trying to match the ages of the protagonists in the stories to Ane, so there is at least that “hook” that pulls her in – even if the stories are set in a different century (like Laura Ingalls Wilder), we’re still reading about someone around Ane’s age. So, if anyone has any ideas for me, leave them in the comments.

In the meantime, we’re cruising along with our 15 minutes a day. I’m usually the one reading to her, but the Webmaster has put in an appearance or two on her sheet as well.

And there is no school this week for both kids – it’s midwinter break – so I’m really going to have to think of things for them to do that don’t involve killing each other in their boredom. Who wants to have a play date??

3 Responses to “Reading Challenge”

  1. Handy Mom
    February 16th, 2010 00:50

    I’m ready for a play date! Call me. Tuesday or Friday would work best. I just need enough time to wrap Rerun’s baby present and gather up all the goodies I’ve got for you…

  2. Aunt Lynda
    February 16th, 2010 08:14

    Ramona the Pest, Henry Huggins, Henry and Ribsy,
    The Mouse and the Motorcycle
    Loved Beverly Cleary and she was from Portland.

    I read for 20 minutes a week to K-5 for over 20 years, but I need to look back and see what some of the books were. They were all continued week to week, I know.
    Boxcar Children and The Lion et al, yes, but there were so many more!

  3. Ressis
    February 16th, 2010 08:19

    We’ll take Ane for a play date! Just hop on a plane for five hours and we’ll pick you up at the airport. 😉