All students score reading material through RIF
Marc Valero | Highlands TodaySEBRING - A class of fourth-graders clamored with excitement as they found action, adventure, sports, history and comedy on Thursday all in one place in their school.
Published: November 9, 2012
Published: November 9, 2012
The students in Janet Harris' class at Fred Wild Elementary School were looking through dozens of books spread out on the tables in the Media Center.
They all had a decision to make - pick out their favorite to keep.
The district has had free book distributions from time to time for elementary students over the years, but this is the first time in memory that every student in the district will be getting a free book, said Debbie Wood, federal programs special assignment teacher.
Some students picked out funny story books or adventure stories, while others chose books that wove topics like diversity into their stories or involved math skills in a fascinating way for the students.
At this grade level, many of the books feature a page-filling illustration on every page with only two or three sentences on each page.
Fourth-grader Mackenzi Crouth had trouble deciding between a joke book and a light-hearted story book titled "Hush." It's about a mom trying to put the baby to sleep and everybody is too noisy and they won't be quite, Crouth said.
"I like to read enjoyment books that make you laugh and are funny," she said.
Crouth asked the school's media specialist Carla Rice for advice on choosing between the two books.
Rice looked over the books and said "this looks good."
But, she added, "I can't choose for you; you have to make that decision."
Ixia Fletcher held a book titled "Families are Different," which featured an illustration of a family with members from different races/ethnic backgrounds.
Fletcher pointed out the book's summary, which stated, "Nico doesn't look like her mom and dad does because she is adopted. Nico looks around and realizes she is like everyone else, she's different."
Fletcher said, "It shows that there are different families."
Ashian Feliciano picked a booked designed to boost estimating skills with photos of pennies on a table, marbles in a jar and swimmers in a large pool.
What kind of skills are you learning from this book?
"Multiplication," Feliciano replied.
Are you already doing multiplication in school?
"Yeah, and division," Feliciano replied.
The district received about 14,000 books from the Reading is Fundamental (RIF) program, through a donation from Macy's.
The retailer's customers participating in this year's Be Book Smart campaign helped raise more than $4.8 million for RIF, the nation's largest children's literacy organization.
The book distribution, which started last week, will conclude next week.
Books were ordered, including an extra 10 percent, separately for each school, Rice noted. The extra books offer a variety so it doesn't come down to the last book for the last student.
In the past, RIF provided books for the lowest income schools, she said. Last year she got books for two of the four schools where she works.
For a media specialist there is nothing more important than getting books into a student's hands, Rice said.
David Reyes sat at a table by himself and intently, but quietly, read aloud from an adventure book.
The book, "Trillion the three-headed Lion" is from a series called Beast Quest that follows a 12-year-old boy, Tom, and his friend on mythical adventures. Tom encounters and battles various monstrous creatures in the books.
"I have already read a lot of these books," Reyes commented.
Fred Wild Elementary and the other elementary schools use the Accelerated Reader program, which tests students online about the books they have read.
Students answer five to 10 questions on each book and accumulate points, Harris said. They work toward benchmark point totals and earn prizes.