Wakonda piloting Summer Reading Achievers

Wakonda piloting Summer Reading Achievers The Wakonda School has joined other districts across South Dakota in piloting Summer Reading Achievers, a summer reading program being sponsored by the United States Department of Education (USDOE). Each school district in South Dakota participating in the Summer Reading Achievers kicked off the program with a Reading Rally for their students.

The first official Reading Rally for South Dakota was held in Rapid City on April 8. The Wakonda School District's Reading Rally was held on May 6.

Officials from the state received the offer to pilot Summer Reading Achievers in March from U.S. Secretary Rod Paige. Gov. Mike Rounds and Dr. Rick Melmer, South Dakota secretary of education, were pleased to accept the offer. South Dakota's participation in the program is an opportunity for South Dakota students that Rounds readily accepted.

"No Child Left Behind in South Dakota means that we care about every single child and opportunities like this help every child," Rounds said. Melmer indicated that he wants as many school districts in the state as possible involved in the program.

"School districts and public libraries must work together to make the Summer Reading Achievers program successful," he said.

The Summer Reading Achievers program was piloted last year in Atlanta, GA. This year the pilot program was expanded to include 10 other sites and as well as one state � South Dakota.

The program is an incentive program to increase summer reading by children in grades K-8. The intended purpose of the program is to reduce the lapse in reading skills many children experience over the summer.

To support the program, USDOE sent packets of information to each school district in the state which contained posters, reading logs, and brochures about the program. In addition, one book was sent for each child participating in the Summer Reading Achievers program. The books were given out to each participating student at the Reading Rally.

In order for a student to participate in the program they have to read 10 age-appropriate books over the summer months. Students create a reading log after each book is read by writing a sentence or two about a portion of the book. When the students return to school in the fall they turn their reading logs into the school principal who will determine the top readers.

Students who complete the 100 book eligibility requirement will receive an embossed "No Child Left Behind Summer Reading Achiever" certificate signed by Secretary Paige and Secretary Melmer, as well as bing eligible for other incentives provided by corporate, state, and local sponsors.

For more information, contact Kay Leuth or Angela Grider at 605-267-2644.

Program co-coordinators for the state are Kathy Valnes, South Dakota Department of Education, and Pam Kringel, South Dakota State Library.

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