Students pair up for ‘Read-a-thon’

Published 9:06 pm Friday, March 6, 2009

Students at Robertson Elementary School got a little bit of a break.

For an hour, students got to take over the school’s hallways and classrooms. They sat in beanbag chairs and benches and curled up with new books – and new friends.

Friday was one of the school’s Read-a-thons, in which older students paired with younger students to read books for an hour.

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“We started this last year,” said Deborah Robertson, the Title I reading specialist at Robertson Elementary School. “The kids enjoyed it so much, we continued it this year.”

The school holds about three of these events each year, but Friday’s was planned specifically to help celebrate the anniversary of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, which is March 2.

“Dr. Seuss wanted kids to really enjoy reading,” Robertson said. “This is the spawn of those thoughts.”

At 2 p.m., the students partnered up. Fifth-graders met with second-graders, fourth-graders met with first-graders and third-graders met with kindergartners. They picked books in the accelerated reading program to read with one another.

“Everybody is involved,” Robertson said.

All students who attend Robertson Elementary participated in the event, which with all the reading gives the school quite a buzz, Robertson said.

When the students finished a book, they would take an accelerated reading quiz on the book they just finished. If they scored an 80 percent or more on the quiz, they were entered into a drawing for special prizes.

Books, stuffed animals and special Seuss character eraser pens were some of the biggest draws, but every student who participated in the read-a-thon still walked away with a pencil, eraser and bookmark.

“Something like this encourages the students to keep reading,” Robertson said. “I think it’s so uplifting for the older students to come work with the younger students. They look forward to it. They love it. And I love anything that encourages reading.”

Of course, a Seuss-dedicated read-a-thon would not be the same without a visit from a Seuss character.

Robertson Guidance Counselor Keesha Kerns helped the children get into the reading spirit by dressing up as Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat.

“The kids always enjoy seeing someone dressed up, especially when it is someone like the Cat in the Hat,” Robertson. “It just helps make the day even more fun and even more special for the students and their reading.”