How many words did you read today?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Purdy aims to raise interest in reading with challenge

Students are constantly pushed to read at the grade level that they should be, rather than to just enjoy reading.

Julie Dalton, Purdy pre-k through sixth-grade principal, said she aims to keep her students interested in reading by challenging them with the Million Words Club.

“This is something new that we started doing in February when we got back from break,” she said. “I told the teachers that I wanted to know what students were reading — 1 million words.”

Dalton said she then broke it down so each grade level had a goal.

“For example, first grade has a goal of 50,000 words,” she said. “Even though we started this in February we have used the words from the entire school year.”

Dalton said when a student hits the goal for his or her grade, the students get a book of his or her choice.

“I will continue to do this, and will be in discussion with teachers for next year about what are good goals to set quarterly,” she said. “That will keep the students motivated to keep reading.”

Dalton said it is important to keep children involved and enjoying reading.

“To see their excitement when they know they get a book of their choice to read is great,” she said. “Too many times we focus on a reading level based on their grade verses just enjoying reading.

“Since I have challenged the students, I have noticed that they are wanting to read more.”

Dalton said when children read words, their vocabulary gets enriched.

“If we focus too much on reading level, we aren’t focusing on the right things,” she said. “I came up with this as I talked with another teacher about words. Our fourth-grade group has focused on words, and I felt like I should open that up to everybody.”

Dalton said she writes a note to each student inside the book they get when they reach their goal to continue to encourage them to read.

The current goals for the grades, and number of students who have reached the goals, are:

• First grade: 50,000, three students

• Second grade: 100,000, eight students; 200,000, three students;

300,000, two students

• Third grade: 500,000, no students; 400,000, three students

• Grades 4-6: 1 million, 20 students; 2 million, two students.

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