PHES reading program draws more students this year |

PHES reading program draws more students this year

by Nancy Hamlett

During school, after school, in the car and during recesses, students at Pinon Hills Elementary School spent the last six weeks reading every chance they had.

“It’s our annual reading incentive program,” said PHES reading specialist Joan Gardner, who added that the theme of this year’s program was Reading into the Millennium.

“The teachers acted out a play, wonderfully written by Jackie Maye, to kick off the program and to start the enthusiasm. Then the students earned prizes at every stage of the program. Any student who completed all five stages won a free book donated by our very generous Parent-Teacher Organization.”

Kindergarten through second grade students had to read 120 minutes to reach each stage. Third through sixth grade students read 240 minutes. To help especially the younger students, PTO volunteers read to students during morning and afternoon recesses and during the evening at PHES Family Library and Computer Night.

“We even asked parents and teachers to participate,” said Gardner.

“Watching an adult read teaches a powerful lesson to our children.”

This is the fourth year of the reading incentive program at PHES, and Gardner said that she is pleased with the number of students that participated.

“Each year we see more students enthused with the program and participating,” said Gardner. “And over 180 students completed all five stages this year. That is a lot of reading that is in addition to regular school work.”

Local businesses understand the importance of reading, and they also contributed prizes at each stage to reward the readers. McDonald’s, Nik-N-Willies Pizza (Johnson Lane), Carson Valley Swim Center, The Children’s Museum, Ironwood Cinemas and Wallace Theaters donated prizes for this year’s reading campaign.

“The children loved to get the rewards, but in the process they learned that reading is fun,” said Gardner. “That’s the beauty of this program – it encourages our students to read just for the fun of it, and they maintain this enthusiasm for reading long after the program is over. “