By Floyd Ingram/Chickasaw Journal
VARDAMAN – More than 400 students at Vardaman Elementary read 511 books on March 2 as part of the Read-The-Most-Coast-To-Coast reading challenge.
The nationwide competition saw students come in to reading class and not only read an age-appropriate book, but also take and pass a comprehension test on that book.
Nationally a new one-day record of 3,588,992 quizzes were taken, topping last year’s number of 2,177,586 by more than 1.4 million.
“These kids have been working hard and reading with this program all year long,” said Wyndi Davis, a first grade teacher at Vardaman Elementary and coordinator of the reading challenge. “The goal is not to make kids read, but to get them to enjoy reading and read more.”
Davis said Ginger McAllister dreamed up the idea of a parade for younger students. Providence shined on the parade as gray skies parted at the parade’s beginning, and the sun shone as youngsters were escorted around town by the Mississippi Highway Patrol and Vardaman police cruisers.
Fifth- and sixth-graders were taken to a Mexican restaurant in Vardaman for lunch.
Molly Brownlee, a sixth-grader, said she read 56 books and enjoyed it.
“My favorite were the ‘April Adventure’ books where this girl named April had to do all these detective things,” Brownlee said. “I carried them home to read and even read them with my family.”
Davis said Dr. Seuss books were a favorite with the younger crowd.
“We had one first grader read and test on 91 books,” Davis said. “I want to thank the parents for supporting their children’s reading habits at home, and I want to thank the teachers for helping at school.
“Most of all, I want to thank these kids for making a competition out of this,” she added. “Developing stronger reading skills will help them no matter what they do in life.”
Nationally more than 20,000 educators registered their students to take part in Read-The-Most-Coast-To-Coast. The reading challenge is sponsored by Renaissance Learning center, and the goal of the program is to increase reading speed and comprehension.