Last month, several local organizations contributed to support a local school.
The Mineral Lake Lions, represented by lion Steve; American Legion post No. 148, represented by John SanFillipo; Eatonville-Mount Rainier Chapter Eagles Aerie No. 3158, represented by Christine Blackett; and the Eatonville Lions, represented by Christine Wendell, all chipped in hundreds of dollars to cover a critical reading program at Columbia Crest A-STEM academy.
The program is named Accelerated Reader, and it has been used by the school for nearly a decade. This year, however, due to the fundraising interruption caused by COVID-19, the Columbia Crest Parent Teacher Organization did not have the money to purchase the program, and the district was unwilling to use surplus funds to support the much-loved reading program.
At Columbia Crest, Accelerated Reader is used in grades 1 through 8 and supplements the district-provided curriculum.
AR incentivizes personal reading. Students choose books at their reading level based on their interests. For students who can read above grade level, AR is an opportunity to push themselves. For those who cannot access classroom materials because they read below grade level, AR provides a means for them to read at ability level. Additionally, AR promotes a love for reading by encouraging students to seek out books in which they are interested.
Teachers and the PTO provide incentives for students to hit goals. Each book is worth a certain number of points. After students finish a book, they take a test, which generates points, and each student has a point goal for the quarter. The goal is generated using an algorithm in the program that calculates the number of points per quarter, based on the student's reading level, and the suggested daily number of minutes reading (usually 15). Prizes are given to students who meet their goals.
The AR program can generate enthusiasm for reading. Students who otherwise would not choose to pick up a book are driven to earn prizes and to compete against their peers. As a result, students become better readers, find more enjoyment from reading and perform better in their classes.
AR helps students become lifelong readers, giving them a hobby they can enjoy for their entire lives, and can propels them in the classroom, giving them a leg up in their academic careers and future professional lives.
Students, parents, teachers and members of the Columbia Crest family were thankful to all the organizations for their show of support. Contributing organizations were publicly thanked at the Columbia Crest BMX rally recently, but the gratitude is sure to continue as Columbia Crest extends its tradition of literacy education.
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