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Students celebrate reading success

A second-grade class at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy was rewarded with a pizza party and more on Wednesday for logging the most books as a classroom in the Suffolk Public Library’s Winter Reading Challenge in January.

The library also brought Tux, the library’s penguin mascot for the Winter Reading Challenge, to NSA second-grade teacher Lauren McGhee’s classroom on Wacky Wednesday this week.

McGhee’s class logged the most books as a classroom for the challenge, with 1,190 books in total during the month of January, according to Angie Sumner, marketing and community relations coordinator for the library.

McGhee’s second-graders wore crazy hats and hairdos for Wacky Wednesday at school — just in time for the pizza party festivities. They enjoyed their pizza while Early Childhood Services Senior Librarian April Watkins read them the book “Penguin Problems.” The students danced with Tux and received a set of Magna-Tiles for their classroom.

“I think they loved it,” McGhee said about the library visit on Wacky Wednesday. “They were so excited that they won the contest.”

This was the third consecutive year that Suffolk has been one of the top-performing libraries in Beanstack’s Winter Reading Challenge, thanks to avid Suffolk readers like McGhee’s students.

“This is our third year winning, and this year we are one of two communities that’s going to get an author to come to our community and share about their books and what it’s like to be an author,” Watkins said to the students in McGhee’s class on Wednesday, “so we are very thankful for all that you did as being awesome readers.”

The students read books in story time in January, and with one book read being logged for each of the 17 students in McGhee’s class, their total number of logged books grew rapidly. There were also some students who took the lead in storytime and read to their classmates.

“They’re very excited about reading,” McGhee said. She added that her goal as a teacher is “to get kids excited about reading and to build that foundation for a love of learning,” and her students demonstrated with their enthusiasm for this reading challenge.

Beanstack’s third annual Winter Reading Challenge began on Jan. 1, and Suffolk Public Library’s goal this year was for readers to log 9,000 books that they read before the end of January. These were logged using the Beanstack platform, and also with paper logs at each Suffolk Public Library branch.

Suffolk readers dominated the library’s challenge and logged a total of 12,109 books that they read in January. Individuals, classrooms and library groups once again read to win, Watkins said.

They were also active on social media with the hashtag “WinterRead2020,” which helped boost the library’s social media and marketing presence this year, an aspect that Watkins said was made even better by their popular penguin mascot Tux.

Most of all, she gave credit to the outstanding readers in Suffolk classrooms, especially McGhee’s second-graders at NSA.

“That is how we have achieved our goal every year, and this class by far — from the very beginning — (was) leader of the pack,” she said.