Students in Nova Scotia win contest by reading 58,000 books


First aired on Halifax's Information Morning (05/06/13)

The Adopt-a-Library program's "WOW Reading Challenge" started out as a simple contest -- read as many books as possible. One school in Nova Scotia went above and beyond, reading a whopping 58,000 books (that's about 155 books per kid). Not only did they win for their province, they are the national and international champions. Jane Williams, one of the teachers at A.G. Baillie Memorial School in New Glasgow talked to Halifax's Information Morning about how she was able to get her grade four students to read so many books.

Williams explained that the books didn't all have to be read in the classroom. The kids read at home and online, using online reading resources like Tumble Books from the Halifax Public Library and Raz-Kids. The fact that it was a competition helped turn reading into a sport. But Williams said this wasn't the only motivator and that one student even remarked how this is a competition where everyone wins because everyone is reading.

Williams said there wasn't an overly competitive feeling in the classroom and their strive towards 58,000 was marked by a love of reading. "The competition was participation, it wasn't on their performance or how well they were reading. We weren't gauging improvement but we were certainly excited when noticed children progressing and moving from one level to another in their classroom's throughout the year. But the children didn't feel that pressure they were participating and wanting to read more, they would talk to each other and they would suggest books."

There have been complaints in recent years that children are reading less due to the rise of internet culture but the kids in New Glasgow helped show reading is as popular as ever and how the more you read the more you want to read. "It encourages kids to read and then to talk about the reading at home and to ask their parents for more books."

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