Reading Is Fundamental at GHCS
What can get students excited to read? Have a reading marathon! Golden Heart Christian School in Fairbanks, Alaska, created an annual fundraiser to support school needs. The five year tradition has become a favorite day for students and teachers. This year the mission is to purchase more desks for students.
How does a reading marathon work? A couple weeks before the event, students are given the responsibility to find sponsors. Sponsors are their friends, family, neighbors and even teachers. After the marathon, students follow up with sponsors to thank them, report the amount read and collect the funds promised where it's put in a safe place.
What makes a reading marathon special? On the morning of the marathon, students come to school in pajamas with a favorite animal. Some even bring blankets to turn their desks into a fort.
Students bring a supply of their favorite books from home. If anyone runs out of books, they can use the library. They're excited to begin reading as soon as the school day starts.
As the day begins, all is quiet, but soon many early readers request help with sounding out words. This is a day for them to read independently and work hard on remembering their phonics knowledge. Upper grade students revel in the quiet environment. Staff use the time to grade, plan and prepare lessons.
After every 30 minutes of reading, the kids would take a break either in the gym or outside. Before heading to break, children gather more books in preparation for the next reading block. One older student was so engaged in her book she chose to read during most breaks.
The reading marathon is a win-win day for all. This wonderful opportunity supports the school, improves student reading and, amazingly, even keeps everyone awake and engaged.