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Some rewards for reading

El Morro Elementary School students had a special guest recently. X-Games gold medalist Tina Dixon spoke about the importance of reading in her career.

Dixon’s appearance was part of a reward to students for their participation in Scholastic Reading Counts, a software program that inspires a love of independent reading, said Livi Adams, reading intervention teacher at El Morro.

Adopted by El Morro at the beginning of the 2009-10 school year, Adams said, Reading Counts is designed to match appropriately leveled books to students through the Lexile system. Students are then given a list of books to choose from, based on their interest, and can read at their own pace. Once they have finished a book, they take a comprehension quiz for which they earn points if they do well.

“The major benefit of this program is that it motivates students to read,” Adams said. “As of today, we have had 4,497 books read by students in second through fifth grades.”

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Once students have reached a certain number of points, they are awarded a prize. The school has set benchmark goals of 25, 50, 75 and 100.

A 25-point goal earned certificates; 50 points earned the visit from Dixon, who also handed out prizes to the highest readers from each grade; and 75 points garnered students an ice cream party. Those who meet the 100-point goal by June will have an opportunity to drop Principal Chris Duddy in a dunk tank.

“The students have their eye on the prize and look forward to being able to take a chance at the ‘Dunkin’ Duddy!’” Adams said.

She said the program is a valuable tool for teachers as well because it helps them monitor student progress by using a reports tool within the program, and to intervene when necessary. The reports can also be used for student and parent-teacher conferences. Adams said the year-round program is applicable to students of all ages.

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