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FPS readers reach, break goals

The 2008-2009 school year ends on a high note for four Farragut Primary School students who worked hard to reach specific goals.

Second-graders Will Hong, Maddie Dresen and Daniel Zetterberg and first-grader Alia Smith set lofty goals for themselves as part of FPS’s Finley’s Reading Club, and they achieved them and then some.

Finley’s Reading Club is part of Knox County Schools’ Accelerated Reading program in which students read certain books, then take a test to ensure reading comprehension.

FPS librarian Margaret Rogers and assistant librarian Sue Adams named the program for the FPS mascot, Finley the dolphin.

Cumulatively, since joining the club in kindergarten, Will has read 2,500 books, Maddie 2,025, Alia 1,025 and Daniel 1,000.

“They have read and passed tests on all these books,” Rogers said.

Will broke the previous record, set by Alia’s brother, Kai Smith, in 2005, of 1,554 books.

He said he decided on the number 2,500 at the beginning of this school year.

“My mom helped me decide,” he said.

“I thought it was a huge number but I also thought I was going to make it,” he added.

Not one to stop just because he reached his goal, Will has read 2,506 books as of press time.

Although Will cited the competition and the desire to meet his goal as his main reason for reading, Maddie said she reads for fun and said “Moonlight on the Magic Flute,” one of the Magic Tree House books by Mary Pope Osborne, is her favorite book.

“It is about Beethoven,” she said.

“Jack and Annie go back in time and they meet Beethoven as a little kid and they teach him to like music again,” she added.

Rogers and Adams said they have seen a notable increase in students’ interest in reading since they began Finley’s Reading Club.

Participants receive a ribbon in increments of 25 books and have their picture posted on the library wall.

Rogers said the biggest incentive for most students comes after having read 100 books.

“Their names are called on the morning announcements and when they reach 100 they get to go on the morning announcements and give a book review of their favorite book. That is really what has increased kids getting to 200, 300 and 400.”

She added that the program is not just an incentive to get kids to read.

“Reading is the foundation of education so I think they are setting a good foundation.

“And they are setting goals. Many kids come in and they have a goal of reading 25 books and getting their picture on the wall,” she said.

Maddie and Will ran into an unexpected problem with the program.

“Starting at around 1,800 books or so, the public library ran out of books that we could test them on. The parents reported to us that they couldn’t find any more for Maddie and Will to read. So Mrs. Adams would stay late every day and find books that they had not tested on yet and she would keep a stack in the workroom for them so they could just go get their stacks,” Rogers said.

Will already has set his sights on another record.

“I am going to try to break the intermediate school’s record. I think it is 1,700 points,” Will said.


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