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Local school inspires young readers with creative literacy campaign

A local elementary school is kicking off a creative campaign to encourage literacy among first graders.

Numerous studies show that children who are read to at home have a higher success rate in school. Recent numbers show just over half of children ages three to five are read to daily by a family member.

A huge party was thrown for the first graders Friday afternoon at Owens Cross Roads School that was all about motivating them for a five week at-home reading challenge. The goal is for the first graders to read 30 books at home in 5 weeks. The entire student body participated, entertaining and playing music for the students– celebrating the first graders and their reading ability. 

Princpal Adam Hampton says the idea is to increase their excitement and will to read. “They’re skilled in phonics at this point. They’re putting it all together and now they’re readers,” he said. “So now, how do you hone in those skills? You practice. The volume of reading is so important at this age and developing those skills as readers.”

The party’s theme was the Greatest Readers on Earth. Each student took home a brand new book to get them started: Clifford at the Circus.

Students will have incentives along the way.

“We have these little slices of paper and they collect the links, and we hang them in the hall. It’s that motivation. When you have this many links, and we have special treats every Friday,” said Carla Riley, who teaches first grade.

The goal is to have them reading on grade level by third grade. 

“It’s important for them to not just see books here and there, but to read real books and real text and to understand that that’s going to be a part of life and that they need to be ready,” said Riley.

Community heroes will also play a part in inspiring the students…

“We also have special guest readers who will come on a weekly basis that can talk about their career and how reading has helped their career and their life,” said Hampton.

This is the fifth year of the campaign. The idea was adopted from Huntsville city schools.