by Amy Doeun
Gara Goldenstein has been a teacher at C.E. Jacobson Elementary School in Rush City for 20 years.
Every year, as long as she can remember, February has been “I Love to Read” month. This year, the reading committee at the school set the reading goal for the month at 130,000 minutes. That is over 2,000 hours of reading for the month.
Goldenstein said that one of the things she loves about the month is, “It’s really fun to see the kids get excited about reading.”
One way they accomplish their goal is by having “reading drills,” Goldenstein explained, noting that when a reading drill is called out over the school intercom, “You hear the kids cheer and then it is absolutely silent.” The students drop whatever they are doing and take out their books to read during the 10-minute drill.
On Friday, March 3, the school had its celebration to close the month. Goldenstein announced the school had surpassed its goal and read 133,262 minutes for the month. Principal Jason Mielke wore a hat in honor of Dr. Seuss to celebrate the students’ accomplishments.
Mielke said one of his favorite parts of the month is seeing the kids all around the school carrying books There were also weekly “caught reading” prizes. Goldenstein would select five students each week that had been caught reading.
There was also a competition among the classrooms. Laura Nelson’s first grade class won the prize for PreK-2, with 6,757 minutes. Jeremy Albright’s fifth grade class won for the upper grades, with 14,013 minutes.
Individual students with the most minutes also competed in a Dr. Seuss themed relay race. Each portion of the competition was inspired by one of the author’s books from “Hop on Pop” (a jump rope competition) to “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (a two-person “sleigh ride” of sorts).
The children were exuberant during the celebrations, proving that the love of reading was alive and well at C.E. Jacobson.