Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Reading Wednesday: Motivating Literacy

One North Carolina primary school has found yet another method to motivate kids into reading more books:
Cheers echoed through Hemby Bridge Elementary School last Thursday when students were surprised with an announcement on the school's morning broadcast.

That night, there would be no homework.

The night off from schoolwork was a reward for six weeks that students spent reading as hard as they could for the 2006 Reading Olympics.

The idea for the Reading Olympics, which hadn't been done schoolwide in years, according to Assistant Principal Margaret Flowe, came from the school's site-based committee.

They came up with the idea of the Reading Olympics, keeping it to six weeks so students wouldn't lose focus.

School officials talked to teachers and decided that reading 2,500 books would be a good schoolwide goal. Students would win an ice cream party if they succeeded.

That goal was a piece of cake for Hemby Bridge Elementary's readers.

"They met that goal in the first two weeks," Flowe said. "We decided to up the ante a little bit."

Students were then told if they read 5,000 books, teachers could give them an extra 30 minutes of recess one day.

Again, the goal was not a problem, and officials had to find a new prize for the next goal: 7,000 books.

"It seemed to create an excitement within the school that the children were all working toward one goal," Flowe said.

Administrators surprised the students with their homework-free day last week. Parents were also surprised -- some called the school to make sure their children were correct in telling them they didn't have any homework.

Flowe and Principal Bill Breckenridge also spent four days serving ice cream sundaes to all the students last week. Flowe said they served 22-23 gallons of ice cream, and they're not sure how much chocolate syrup.
Read the whole thing.

I can't help but smile at this. The kids got a day off without homework and the teachers got a night off from checking it.

A win-win situation if I ever saw one.
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