Stimulating kids to read during the summer break is a proven benefit in helping students retain skills that help them pick up where they left off in the spring. The idea of a summer reading program with incentives started last year, spear headed by Gloria Sweeney, K-Beach elementary school teacher, who got community support and sponsorship.
Awards, which include t-shirts, books, and bookmarks, are provided with funding from the Soldotna Rotary Club, Agrium, and the Ladies Auxiliary of the Soldotna VFW Post #10046. This year, with only a few additional participants, the student and faculty readers exceeded last year's record of minutes read, by 91,707 minutes.
However, the drive to upset last year's Queen of Reading, 1st grade teacher Irma Peterson, fell short, as Peterson retained her crown by reading over 18,000 minutes. That breaks down to about seven and a half weeks reading an average of 40 hours a week during summer vacation.
Irma Peterson is crowned Queen of reading at K-Beach Elementary School.
"I just love to read. I spent my summer exercising in the day and when things settled down in the evening, I would start reading and reading, and it wasn't unusual for me to read to about 2:00am," said her Highness Queen Irma.
Many of the books Peterson consumed were preparation material for the coming school year, books on reading comprehension, quality schools and language arts, but she admitted there were also some good novels in the mix. "I wore out about 4 sets of batteries that go inside my flashlight that hooks on to my book so that I can read at night and not disturb my husband," said Queen Peterson.
According to Gloria Sweeney, the program is gaining popularity among the students, and the drive to overthrow Queen Irma is becoming quite a challenge to K-Beach students.
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