District celebrates improvement in literacy rates across all grade levels thanks to the Superintendent’s Reading Challenge
MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. (June 12, 2017) – The Mount Vernon City School District gave away more than 200 nooks to students at the Superintendent’s Third Annual Reading Challenge Carnival on the football field at Mount Vernon High School last Thursday.
The carnival was held for the 2,000 students who reached their reading goals this school year. At the beginning of the school year, Superintendent Dr. Kenneth R. Hamilton challenged students to reach his goal of reading 150,000 books collectively during the school year. Pre-kindergarten-8th-grade students were challenged to read books during the year – students in pre-K, total of 15 books each; students in K-grade 2, 40 books each; and students in grades 3-8, 30 books each. Dr. Hamilton invited students who achieved these goals to the end-of-year carnival and students in these grades far surpassed the superintendent’s challenge, reading more than 156,000 during the school year.
Nadine Bennett attended with her son, Savion Abel, a second grader in Kiya Finch’s classroom at Holmes Elementary School. It was Savion’s reward for a great year of reading.
“We go to the library a lot,” Bennett said. He often reads two books a night. He enjoys reading but the rewards of the reading challenge are a great incentive. It’s something for him to look forward to.”
The program and the district’s own innovative reading programs have been quite successful at raising reading levels for students. The district collected data showing the change in the percentage of students on or above level for grades 2 through 8 from the beginning of the school year testing (performed between Sept. 6 and Oct. 7, 2016) to the mid-year testing (performed between Jan. 3 and 27, 2017). Grade 2 students increased from 20 percent at the beginning of the year to 45 percent at mid-year. Grade 3 students rose from 31 percent to 52 percent. Grade 4, from 20 percent to 31 percent. Grade 5, from 20 percent to 26 percent. Grade 6, from 15 percent to 23 percent. Grade 7, from 22 percent to 29 percent. Grade 8, 24 percent to 26 percent.
The district gave away 200 nooks and Barnes & Noble gift certificates to the students. They were purchased with money from Superintendent’s Reading Challenge fundraisers during the year. To help students avoid the “summer slide” – learning or reading skill loss during the summer months – the district is also providing more than 8,400 students in grades Pre-K-12 with take-home book packs customized by Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education, and media company. The book packs will also include a letter from Dr. Hamilton promoting the importance of summer reading.
“I am so proud of everyone who participated in the Superintendent’s Reading Challenge this year,” Dr. Hamilton said. “I was blown away by the number of parents who came up to me to share how the Superintendent’s Reading Challenge has helped to get their children excited about reading. That makes it all worth it.”
“Reading impacts learning in all subject areas so it is important to emphasize daily reading at home to complement the work in school,” Dr. Gayle White-Wallace, Standards Administrator for Pre-K, ELA, Literacy and Social Studies (Elementary). “We look forward to everyone having a wonderful summer of reading so they come back in September ready to meet the challenges of their new grade level.”
The event was attended by students, parents, School Board Trustees; and school district administrators. Students enjoyed carnival rides, bounce houses, inflatable slides and obstacle courses, and games. A disc jockey, face painters, and stilt walkers kept the crowd entertained, along with OLI the Octopus – the school’s literacy mascot – and Clifford the Big Red Dog.
Students who their grade-level goal for number of books read received a medal, certificate and the invitation to the carnival. Students who read more than 20 books received a certificate of participation. Two readers from each school will join Dr. Hamilton for a fun celebration.
About Mount Vernon City School District
With more than 8,000 students in 16 schools, and students returning from private schools, the Mount Vernon City School District is committed to providing a quality education to its children as well as developing programs that meet the diverse academic and social needs of its students.