Reading into the record books

Some students are splashing around in the swimming pool this summer, but Ballantyne Elementary School students are busy reading to help their school make it into the world record books. 

The school currently ranks 10th out of thousands of schools around the world in the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge, a free global reading program that motivates children to read during the out-of-school summer months by logging their reading minutes online and earning rewards, with the goal of setting a new world record for summer reading.

Last year’s participants set the world record of 176,438,473 minutes read. Children log reading minutes until Sept. 5 to record how much their individual school reads for a chance to make it into the 2015 Scholastic Book of World Records, according to a news release. The top 20 U.S. schools with the most reading minutes are recorded.

The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge was created to give schools and families a free and engaging way to encourage more children to read during the summer and prevent the ‘summer slide’– the learning losses that set children back academically when they do not read during the out-of-school months. The top elementary school with the most minutes read will win a visit from bestselling author-illustrator David Shannon and the top middle school will win a visit from author Gordon Korman. 

Ballantyne Elementary received an honorable mention in 2012 when they placed 25th in the competition, placing the school’s name in the 2013 Scholastic Book of World Records, said Anne Cooper, media specialist at Ballantyne Elementary. 

Cooper opens the media center at Ballantyne Elementary each Tuesday for two hours to allow students to log their hours. She said the students have “exceeded her expectations” by currently reaching 10th and logging almost 2 million minutes. 

“I hope the students find a love of reading, a healthy sense of competition, and see the tangible reward of what they’re doing,” Cooper said, adding she finds it rewarding to see the culminated minutes and hopes the students discover a sense of teamwork.   

“We know that the more children read, the more they succeed and time spent with books is especially important during the summer months so students return to school ready to tackle more challenging texts,” Francie Alexander, chief academic officer at Scholastic, said in a news release. “In the summer, we want our kids finding books that fit their personal interests because those are the books that will make them fall in love with reading. Being part of the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge motivates kids to build up their reading minutes and earn rewards, while parents and teachers can monitor progress. Everybody wins.”

Cooper will continue to open the library throughout the summer and wants to encourage students to continue reading. She knows the students will exceed 2 million reading minutes and hopes they could potentially increase their rank. 

Find more information about the challenge at www.scholastic.com/ups/campaigns/src-2014.

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Courtney Schultz

About Courtney Schultz

Courtney Schultz is a recent college graduate from Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C. She has both a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Political Science. At Campbell, she was the editor-in-chief of the university’s student newspaper for nearly three years and worked for the Siskey YMCA in their membership services and marketing department. She mostly covers education news for the Matthews, Mint-Hill, and greater Charlotte areas.

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