Elementary students “stranded” with lots of books

Post date: Feb 27, 2019 12:14:32 PM

A group of fourth and multi 3 & 4 grade students participated in Wells Elementary School’s second themed Read-A-Thon on February 8th. This event is sponsored by the WES Parent Student Teacher Association (PTSA) to encourage reading without any laptop, tablet or television screens in sight, just books. Twenty-eight participating readers raised approximately $700.00 in pledges to purchase new books for their classroom libraries.

Last year’s theme revolved around “camping out” with real camping gear in the school’s gym. This year had a “survivor island” theme which involved a bit more imagination with students being asked to think of themselves as travelers stranded around several deserted islands (blankets and beanbags on the floor) with the goal of reaching the mainland by reading numerous book chapters.

The four-hour event lasted until 10:00 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria. Dressed in their pajamas, the readers first lunched on sandwiches then read to fulfill pledges made to family and friend supporters.

PTSA treasurer Mari Maituchio and teacher Pam Lear were the organizers of this and last year’s gathering for reading. According to Maituchio, students this year averaged three and a half hours of reading time with a group total approaching 98 hours. “I feel, even as a parent, kids are getting too much into the screen time,” said Mattuchio at the first Read-A-Thon in 2018. “It’s more to get them back to basics,” she said of the activity’s purpose. Although admitting to owning a Kindle of her own, Mattuchio said that she still prefers reading and possessing actual books.

Participating students were from the classrooms of Trevor Hopwood, Kathy Reeves, Melissa Stapleton and Pam Lear. Following each chapter, students meet briefly one-on-one with a parent volunteer to answer questions about the chapter that they had just read. Including Lear and Maituchio, there were 12 parent volunteers monitoring the reading.

Organizers wish to thank the following for their support. Subway in Wells for providing discounted sandwiches and cookies, Reny’s Department Store in Wells for providing gift certificates including a $50 gift certificate to the top reader/fundraiser. There was also a raffle for a $15 Barnes & Noble gift certificate.

Screen-Free Week, held later in the year at WES, shares a similar goal by encouraging students to avoid television, computer, tablet and cell phone screen time focus on other activities including playing outside, family time and reading actual books.