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Students rewarded for completing reading challenge

By Savannah Morgan

news@salisburypost.com

“I read 80!”

Those words echoed through the halls of China Grove Elementary School on Thursday as students and teachers alike buzzed with excitement.

Superintendent Lynn Moody challenged students of Rowan-Salisbury Schools to read 80 Achieve3000 articles by the end of spring break. Achieve3000 is a program that starts in third grade and helps students develop their reading-comprehension skills. Students are required to read nonfiction articles then answer questions about the texts.

Students who read at least 80 articles were promised a surprise.

“They were excited and curious all day,” said China Grove Elementary Principal Lea Anne Thomas. “Even in the car-riders line, they were still asking questions.”

Their questions were finally answered after school. Teachers of all grade levels gathered in the hall as they prepared to deliver signs to their students’ homes. The signs were to be placed in the students’ yards to designate the house of “an extraordinary reader.”

The teachers at China Grove Elementary were just as enthusiastic about the incentive as their students. Many of them sported brightly colored costumes, fully prepared to surprise and celebrate their young readers. Hula skirts, leis, superhero capes and even inflatable tropical birds fluttered out of the school and into cars to deliver the “I read 80!” signs.

China Grove Elementary had a total of 86 third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students to match or exceed Moody’s challenge. First-grade teacher Lauren Hetrick and second-grade teacher Amber Rouse delivered eight of the signs.

“It’s a big achievement!” said Hetrick. “The best part is having students you taught come back to you and say, ‘Hey! I read 80!’ They’re super excited.”

The students’ excitement was evidenced by smiles and hugs as they rushed out to see their yards’ newest ornament. Parents watched from the front door.

Sincere Caldwell is a fourth-grader at China Grove Elementary. “I read 102 articles,” he said.

Sincere was surprised to see the Hetrick-Rouse delivery car arrive — complete with an inflatable toucan and flamingo waving hello.

“I had no idea what it was going to be,” Caldwell said of the incentive.

The prizes differed for various grade levels. High school students were promised entry into a drawing for a gift card.

“We have seen a tremendous amount of growth since we’ve started using Achieve3000, and programs like the I Read 80 Challenge provide a great source of motivation for students,” said Lea Anne Thomas.

Many students went above and beyond their goals, Hetrick said — an “awesome achievement” that made the challenge a success.

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