Barkley Elementary School’s reading program, “Readers are Superheroes,” kicked off Monday with a pep rally for all students in Barkley Commons.
The pep rally is the first of four events used to encourage students to meet their reading goals. Each teacher will meet with their students individually and set a reading goal for them to reach. Every nine weeks the reading goals start over and the students will have another goal to attain. Each time a student reads a book within his or her reading level he or she earn a points toward his or her overall reading goal.
Jerri Huber, Barkley Elementary teacher and reading program coordinator, said the program helps students enjoy reading and learn.
“We want the students to get into reading not because they have to but because they want to, Huber said. It is important for them to be excited about reading and I think this program does that for them.”
The program has been going on for more than 10 years and continues to grow.
“Since I have been [at Barkley] we have tried to make this program better and better for the children,” Huber said. “We get down to what they like and target that as their incentive.”
It is important to have both parents and teachers involved in a child’s education, she said.
“The students’ success depends on a collective effort to make sure they are reading regularly and comprehend what they are reading,” Huber said.
The other three events will be bigger and include more activities, Huber said. But as the events grow in fun, the reading goals for students will increase.
“The reading goals for each student will be different, it will be based on their reading skills,” she said. “The idea is to get the students who have trouble reading or do not like to read to read and keep those like to read often to continue to get better.”
Because “Readers are Superheroes, Monday’s pep rally featured popular comic book characters. Superheroes performed and spoke about their love of reading, as the students yelled and screamed for their favorite hero on stage.
“For the children to see the heroes they see in movies telling them to read, it hopefully means they will strive to be like them,” Huber said. “Reading is crucial to all aspects of the learning process and as teachers, it is our responsibility to teach them and help them grow.”
The U.S. Department of Education found that students who read get higher reading test scores than those who do not.
“The reading program gets the children comfortable with reading,” Huber said. “Through the program, the children have something to strive for and in turn, they enhance their reading skills which allow them to perform better during testing.”
The next event will be in January after the holiday break, which will be the first in which only students who met their reading goals by Dec. 19. will attend.