Take the lead: Read

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

Jacob Tredway, Symmes Valley first grader, is positively glowing.

Not only is his school in the middle of one of their biggest reading events ever — the NASCAR-themed “Take the Lead: Read” — he has also just won big in a daily raffle.

“I think when I won the NASCAR bubbles … that was probably the best part,” Jacob said with a laugh.

Email newsletter signup

That’s pretty high praise in such a jam-packed week. On Tuesday the students had two knuckleheaded puppets reading them “Jack and the Beanstalk” and had been awarded checkered-flag hats.

Students in kindergarten through second grades will be honing their reading skills to see which class can read the most books after the school day.

“Right now, when we say ‘reading’ to our students, their mindset is test preparation, that sort of thing,” said teacher Janet Hale. “But we want to try and instill that reading is just fun, to get them into pleasure reading.”

Hale said part of encouraging pleasure reading is asking students to find out just what they like to read, even if it isn’t a book.

“It’s anything they enjoy reading,” Hale said. “Magazines, newspapers … we have quite a few boys who like to read the sports section in the paper.”

Patty Bellville said that she had seen the program’s effects first hand in her class’ excitement.

“So far they’re having a blast,” Bellville said. “This is one of the most fun weeks they have out of the year, we’ve been pumping them up for the past two months.”

Today, the children will be visited by Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper Randy Boggs, who’ll talk not only about safety but how reading plays a large role in his job, a similar message to the one their receive from some racecar drivers on Thursday.

It all closes on Friday with a visit to the Rocky Top Raceway where they’ll learn that even those who risk their lives on the dirt have to hit the books once in a while.

“We get to go on a field trip,” said self-proclaimed racing fan Kyle Matusiewicz, who had already read 20 books for the event. “We get to see the motorcycles.”