Each summer, Dr. William Gordon challenges Coventry elementary school students to read as many books as they can during vacation. When school begins in the fall, students return their summer reading logs to be tallied. Dr. Gordon then awards $1,000 to the the school with the most books read to go towards the purchase of new reading material.
This year, Western Coventry Elementary School won the challenge for the fourth year in a row, with its 390 students reading a total of 4,055 books.
Dr. Gordon visited the school on Monday morning to present the award and congratulate the students who each received a certificate of their achievement.
"I couldn't believe it when I saw that you had read so many books again this year," he told the students. "Hopefully you enjoyed it and you learned something."
The money will be used to enhance the school's guided reading library, consisting of book collections used for group reading in all grade levels.
"Reading a lot of books strengthens not only your reading skills but your vocabulary skills and background knowledge," Reading Specialist Karen Guilmette told students. "All of these skills will help you as you continue through the higher grades."
Not only does the contest help raise money for the winning school to purchase new books, but it also gives students a goal to achieve and something fun to do with their parents during their summer vacation. Principal Janice Sullivan believes that it also keeps students from falling into the "summer slump" by keeping their minds active.
"We are so lucky that Dr. Gordon encourages our students to read," she said. "We're very grateful. He really is one of the most generous men in the world."
In addition to his $1,000 donation, Dr. Gordon also awarded Mrs. Dadekian's fifth grade class with a pizza party for reading the most books, a total of 356. The student with the top number from each grade also earned a school store gift certificate.
This year's top readers were:
- Kindergarten - Nathan Smith (365 books)
- 1st Grade - Evan-Paul Medenciy (147 books)
- 2nd Grade - Ben Carrigan (120 books)
- 3rd Grade - John Kirkland (40 books)
- 4th Grade - Evelyn Buffi (111 books)
- 5th Grade - Michaela Rietzel (314 books)
The following classrooms had the most students turn in a reading log:
- Mrs. McKenna - 5th grade (15 logs)
- Mrs. Luchka - 4th/5th grade (14 logs)
- Mrs. Spearman - 2nd grade (14 logs)
- Mrs. Deschene - 4th grade (13 logs)
"We're so proud of all of you," said Guilmette to students at the end of the assembly.