It pays to read. Some hard-working students found some of the benefits of that Wednesday when they were rewarded for their hard work and efforts at Parkview Elementary School.
Sprint racecar driver Jonathan Cornell spoke to the 56 Parkview students who completed the Summer Reading Challenge as a reward for their efforts.
“After looking at the fluency data for our students, we found that when they came back from summer vacation some of their reading scores had dropped,” Instructional Coach Jamie Sparks said. “We wanted to find a way to keep our students reading over the summer.
“When they came back, we would have to spend a few weeks getting them back to where they were when school ended for the summer,” Sparks added. “Our reading program has helped considerably with recovering that time they may have lost.”
Students in kindergarten through second grade were asked to read 600 minutes over the summer. The students in grades three through four were asked to read for 1,000 minutes.
“We let our students read anything they wanted to,” Principal Stephanie Jackson said. “It could be a book or a magazine or a newspaper; the whole purpose was to keep the students reading.
“We would let the parents read to their children for the younger children,” Jackson added. “It was a way for them to spend time together while still working on their reading skills.”
The si60 students who attended the school’s summer reading camp had the benefit of using a portion of their class time to log some of their minutes.
“We reward the students four times a year with a special treat,” Jackson said. “We try to do something that is educational but doesn’t require any money on behalf of the district.”
Cornell was more than happy to help Parkview with this quarter’s assembly.
“I really want to encourage these kids to realize that they can accomplish anything and be anything if they apply themselves and work hard,” Cornell said. “They have done that by putting in the extra time this summer to work on their reading.”
Cornell said one of the reasons he wanted to come was to inspire the students.
“When I was young my parents took me to the races at the State Fair Speedway,” Cornell said. “I can remember too lying in bed at night and listening to the sound of the races outside my window.
“I looked up to the drivers and knew that was what I wanted to do when I was younger, but I never thought when I was 7 that this would happen,” he added. “Sprint car racing was always my ultimate goal but I knew I would have to work hard to accomplish my goals.”
Cornell explained to the students both math and reading were essential to his success as a driver.
“My crew writes detailed accounts of everything that happens at the race,” Cornell said. “We look at all of that information and the numbers and that helps us to make adjustments and set up the car for the next race.
“Never stop asking questions or learning,” Cornell encouraged the students. “Reading will help you discover the opportunities that are there for you.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484