Thursday, February 2, 2012

Wisconsin Students' Record

Racine students read 1 million books

Feb. 2, 2012 |

RACINE, Wis. (WTW) — Local children have read 1 million books so far this school year, beating a goal to do so by May.

The new Racine Reads program challenged kindergarten through fifth-grade students at public and private schools east of Interstate 94 to read 1 million books between October and May. Wednesday, students met that goal, reaching the 1 million mark about four months ahead of schedule, according to the Racine Reads online tracker.

"Did we ever think we would hit it by February? Absolutely not," said Jane Barbian, Racine Unified's elementary reading and language arts coordinator. "It has been amazing how many kids engaged in this and how many are enjoying doing the reading. They are just reading up a storm."

More than 10,000 students in nearly 500 classrooms have participated in Racine Reads, according to SC Johnson, which is solely funding the reading program's over $200,000 cost. SC Johnson is a program organizer along with schools, the City of Racine, the Racine Public Library and others.

Racine Reads organizers were initially "frightened" by the 1 million goal and even considered not setting a numerical goal at all. In the end they went ahead with 1 million, hoping it would be achievable, Barbian said.

"When we first were talking about Racine Reads and what our goal should be, 1 million just seemed such an out-of-reach number. I think it averages 100 books per child," she said. "At the kindergarten and first-grade level where they read picture books it might not be that many but when fourth- and fifth-graders are reading Harry Potter books that takes some time."

But students managed to do it.

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