Nearly 65 students on Wednesday celebrated the final day of Victoria Elementary School's first summer reading program.
The six-week program, led by Principal Linda Tenno and the school's staff, urged students to continue reading over summer vacation to keep reading skills consistent from the end of one school year to the beginning of the next.
According to Tenno, when students returned to school last year, their reading levels declined due to lack of reading over the summer.
"We don't have the opportunity to send students to summer school," she said. "Our teachers were noticing that everyone works really hard all year long to improve their reading. The more the students read, the more ready they are for their next grade level."
During the reading program, which began July 11, students would visit the school's library from 9 to 11 a.m. and read with family members.
Tenno said students had to come with family members to encourage family reading.
"These are kids that need access to books over the summer," she said. "We see a lot of families that just wouldn't go to the library otherwise."
Each week, staff members and teachers would volunteer with the reading club and administer accelerated reading tests to the participating students.
"It's really great that our staff felt they could make a difference in these kids' lives by coming in over the summer," Tenno said.
Victoria celebrated the 65 participants, 12 of whom came every week, by raffling off prizes and handing out awards.
Each student was presented with a Read around the World award, as well as a Ruby's Diner gift certificate.
The raffle prizes included workbooks, chapter books and $10 gift cards to Cold Stone Creamery.
Tenno and the staff also surprised students with two bikes as the grand prizes.
According to Tenno, one of the bikes was donated by the Oussana family, whose children are former Victoria students, and the other the teachers bought.
Julio Bello, 11, who won the boy's bike, said he read more than 10 books.
"My experience was good," he said. "I'm excited and surprised to win the bike."
Kenia Rocha, 10, winner of the girl's bike, added, "The program was great. I read mostly Nancy Drew books. I read at least 12 books and came all six times."
Tenno said she hopes the program can continue every summer.
"We know the more [the students read], the more successful they are," she said.