Sixth-graders celebrate reading 1,000 books

Jun 1, 2018

A total of 1,043 books read over the school year.

Overall pages read: 280,000.

Average book length: 270 pages.

That's how much reading the sixth-graders at Old Hammondtown School did during the past school year. What better way to celebrate such an accomplishment than with ice cream?

The sheer number of books read, challenge organizer and sixth-grade teacher Laura Mirabito explained, came from a reading challenge that she proposed to students at the beginning of the year.

"A lot of kids don't read anymore. They don't like it, and at home there's a lot of competition for their time," she explained. "I'd like to get children more interested in reading, and so would their parents."

To give students an incentive to read, Mirabito proposed rewards—an extra gym session here, an extra recess there. The students responded. They'd gotten to almost 800 books when Mirabito stopped and thought, "Wouldn't it be great if we could get to 1,000 books?"

She promised the students an ice cream party celebration if they could make it to 1,000 books. Ice-cream is an excellent reading motivator, it turns out—the students accomplished the goal with time to spare.

"The kids should be recognized for this," Mirabito said. "There are always athletic awards, things like that, but these students should know that this is a big accomplishment too, and it should be celebrated."

Center School librarian Colleen Johns introduced the class's top reader, Julia Carvalho. "I think she read every cat book in the library at Center School," Johns joked, before checking a list of books that Carvalho read last year. "Yes, there's a cat book in here!" she said.

Most students read somewhere between 10 and 20 books over the school year. Carvalho carved out a spot for herself at the very top, though, reading 60.