Skagit Adventist Academy Reaches for the Stars

June 30, 2017 | Katy Paise

The month of April found the prekindergarten through eighth-grade students at Skagit Adventist Academy in Burlington, Wash., spending more time than usual reading outside of class time. One parent said, "My boys rarely read at home, and now it's the first thing they do when they get home." Another mom "complained" her son wouldn't keep his nose out of his book.

Parents and teachers want to see their kids reading more. Research indicates that reading broadens horizons, increases knowledge and curiosity and teaches many things children would otherwise not learn. But what encouraged these students to read so much more than usual? A challenge!

For two weeks, the students were encouraged to read (or be read to) for at least 30 minutes every day through a reading incentive program sponsored by Usborne Books and More called Reach for the Stars. In addition to reading every day, students asked friends and family to sponsor their time spent reading. 

The results were incredible. Hundreds of new books now have homes. The students all hoped to be first in their class for number of minutes read, as well as most pledges collected. When the two weeks came to a close, the 50 participants had read 17,535 minutes and collected more than $2,700 to spend on books.

Most students read well over the minimum 300 minutes. Jeff Cruz took first place for reading 1,701 minutes. Thanks to the matching grant from Usborne Books and More, the students used 50 percent of the money they raised to "spend" at the spring book fair in May. The teachers used the other 50 percent to add to their classroom libraries. 

Skagit Adventist Academy students have become reading superheroes and are already anticipating their next Reach for the Stars event. Who knows? Maybe they will surpass this year's results. One thing is certain. Skagit Adventist Academy families will have plenty of happy readers this summer.