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Readers in line for reward

Kindergartners through 12th- graders will earn points based on books’ difficulty.

October 07, 2009|By Max Zimbert

When a book is finished, the student takes an exam that confirms the book was read, and that the student did not rely solely on the movie adaptation. Tests are automatically refreshed to pose questions that require reading the book, Rife said.

If a student reads a book that is not within the 120,000 tests available within the system, the participant can create his or her own test of the book, which earns points.

Parents of students enrolled in Gifted and Talented Education programs, though, have griped that their child is unfairly held to a higher standard than others, and Jolly acknowledged that it is hard to improve a reading rate when the bar is already set higher.

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“GATE kids need to be challenged, and have a higher goal because they test higher on their vocabulary,” Jolly said. “My opinion is, gifted students are often not challenged in public education and this program will actually challenge them?.?.?.?and they’ll read bigger books.”

Some students are reluctant to read outside of class, Rife said. But she said she has brought many book series into the Jefferson library, which she said is a nice trick for book-shopping parents.

“A lot of times they’ll buy the book with the Newbery Medal,” Rife said of the award for outstanding literature for children.

“But in a series with 20 books, they read one and they’re hooked.”

The competition lasts the school year, but prizes and goals are divided across five-week sessions. The first leg of the competition ends Oct. 23.

“We’ve seen kids who were just reading because they had to, but are now reading because they want to,” Kistler said.

“And parents are reporting a dramatic difference at home as well.”


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