The two year reign of the Queen of Reading at K-Beach Elementary School Irma Peterson, a popular teacher at K-Beach, is over and the new reign of 11-year-old King Skyler Laber, a sixth grader, has begun. The royal distinction is all about encouraging kids to read over the summer or a special program called "Reading Is Great in Summer," (RIGS) which started at K-Beach Elementary School three years ago. King Skyler achieved his crown by reading an overwhelming 23,309 minutes over the summer, "I just read a lot of books, even when we went camping, my favorite is fiction," said Laber.
The RIGS program has increased each year, with the new record being set at 346,822 total minutes read by the 76 participants, that's up over 97,800 minutes from last summer, according to founder and coordinator of the RIGS program Gloria Sweeney. "I attribute the increase mostly to the enthusiasm of the students to try to be the top reader, that's not our primary focus, we just want to encourage students to read over the summer, but a few of the classes became competitive and you should hear some of the stories of how they carried their reading record sheet everywhere they went over the summer, it's really delightful," said Sweeney, who teaches at K-Beach. Sweeney adds that students that read over the summer return to school more prepared to learn, "All the studies that have been done nationwide report that the largest regression that takes place over the summer is in reading, and that means they have to catch up in the fall, and if we can avoid that the solid learning can take place faster," explained Sweeney.
Faculty at K-Beach Elementary sing the RIGS theme song to an all-school assembly Friday.
Since the inception of the summer reading program, Agrium, the Soldotna Rotary Club, and the VFW Ladies Auxiliary, have funded it purchasing T-shirts and books for reward incentives for all the participants and presenting the awards to each student at the annual all-school assembly. The pilot program has become so successful with the students and teachers at K-Beach, that Sweeney feels certain it will be continued for a fourth year, and former Queen Peterson will be looking to regain her throne if the students aren't up to out-reading her.
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