Oak Creek Intermediate students brought blankets and pillows to school last Friday and plenty of good reading. They made themselves comfortable in the school's weight room, sitting cross-legged on a mat or resting with backs against the wall, and got down to the business at hand.
For the first time, the 57 eighth-graders in Erik Peterson's English classes participated in a national reading challenge Read the Most Coast to Coast. These students were among the hundreds of thousands nationwide to join in on this third annual challenge.
The competition encourages students to read and take part in the one-day effort to beat the record for the number of Accelerated Reader Quizzes taken in one day. At last year's event, students across the country set a new one-day record of nearly 4.5 million quizzes. This year's goal was to beat that record by reaching the 5 million mark.
The way it worked was that students read books at the appropriate level and then took a quiz to show they understood what they had read. The higher the reading level and the more complex the book, the higher the points. Students in Peterson's class read and test this way all-year long to improve their reading skills.
"I have been teaching reading for a few years, and on the whole better readers make for better students," Peterson said. "I have been pushing Accelerated Reader (AR) this year. Most students have accepted the challenge and have shined in the classroom and on their report cards."
AR, a web-based program providing access to 160,000 quizzes, is the nation's most widely used reading management program, providing immediate feedback to assist teachers in gaining a clearer understanding of the level of each student. It enables students to choose from a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction books, tracking all aspects of student reading, including books read, number of books and words read, quiz scores and reading levels.
"Research shows the more a student reads, the better they do in every subject," Peterson added.
All students who participated in Friday's event will receive a Certificate of National Participation.
This year's total was just shy of the five million goal 4,987,949. The 57 OCI students took a total of 81 Accelerated Reader tests during the challenge, with Peyton Garner taking six of those 81 tests.