Reading as competitive sport

Published 10:05 pm Monday, February 22, 2016

Reading is generally a solitary activity. In fact, many who love to read do so to find an escape from the world around them, wrapping themselves in stories that take them to other places and times. They might like to share their favorite parts of those stories with fellow readers who enjoy the same sense of having been transported, but the experience of the story happens, for the most part, one reader at a time.

Folks at Forest Glen Middle School have come up with a way to make the whole thing a bit more of a shared experience, however, and their idea could help youngsters who have not yet caught the reading bug discover just how liberating the habit can be.

Forest Glen librarian Teresa Weaver came up with the idea of a reading tournament to motivate the school’s 378 students to read. The school’s students were divided into 44 teams with eight or nine students each. Team coaches include all of the school’s teachers, as well as the principal, assistant principal, teacher assistants, cafeteria workers and the school nurse.

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Recognizing that any good competition benefits from a spectacular launch, the school held a pep rally and first-round draft on Friday. Having drawn most of their team members at random, the coaches took to the high-energy assembly to get their top readers — those who have done the best in Forest Glen’s Accelerated Reader Program — assigned to their teams.

Now, it’s time for the students to hit the books. The single-elimination tournament will take place throughout the next six weeks. The team members will score points by reading Accelerated Reader books and taking quizzes on them.

Prizes include Amazon gift cards and a catered Subway lunch.

Developing a habit of reading at a young age sets a child up for success in the future. Reading truly is fundamental to learning in subjects across the spectrum of education, and good reading skills bring benefits that last a lifetime.

Good luck to all the teams participating in Forest Glen’s reading tournament. We trust many will discover a new favorite hobby during the next six weeks.