Students at Hopkins School are on a mission. This year, as students celebrate the Read Across America program, each page they read earns their classroom one mile of travel. Fourth grade students are competing to Read Across America. Fifth graders are turning pages to Read Across the Oceans.
The competition, which started on March 1st and will continue through April 22nd, is being tracked by Mrs. Weldon, the school librarian. This year the program got a technology makeover. Teachers are using a shared Google Sheet to enter weekly miles. Mrs. Weldon and Ms. Doty then plot the miles using Google My Maps each week when students attend technolibrary. The class chooses their next destination based on the miles earned for the previous week and selects a picture to post on the peg. Take a look at where the Hopkins Hawks have traveled thus far.
While students are engaged in the competitive spirit, in reality, everyone who participates is a winner. According to the US Department of Education, “Reading for pleasure correlates strongly with academic achievement.” That is something to celebrate at the elementary level where many teachers assign independent reading for homework. However, research shows that pleasure reading levels begin to drop as students get older. Relying on statistics from various reading authorities including the National Center for Education Statistics and Scholastic, Common Sense Media published a report titled “Children, Teens, and Reading.” Their research found “reading for fun drops off dramatically as children get older, and rates among all children – especially teens – have fallen precipitously in recent years.”
With these findings showing that reading for pleasure is on the decline amongst all grade levels, reading challenges like the one at Hopkins can go a long way to keeping students engaged in a most precious and rewarding pastime.
By: Steph Doty Technology Integration Coordinator Hopkins School @HopkinsTechLib / @BlendedTeaching Cross-posted to hpsdigital.org