Christian Brothers Academy recently unveiled a new year-long reading program for its junior high students called Project READ. Among its goals are to encourage recreational reading, improve literacy, and expose students to different genres from classic novels to young adult fiction to biographies and other non-fiction.
Research indicates that students engaged in long-term leisure reading activities consistently outperform their counterparts, according to the school's informational handout. In addition, more reading contributes to growth in vocabulary, reading comprehension, verbal fluency and overall general knowledge, not to mention improvements in writing composition, sentence structure and written dynamics.
Program components include the kickoff which took place Oct. 21 with a book-themed T-shirt design contest. Students dressed in the artistic wear they created based on their favorite book. Barnes and Noble gift cards were awarded to the top three designers.
Book talks will be held throughout the year when students will both listen to and give their own novel descriptions in order to promote their favorite paperbacks. The talks encourage kids to entice their listeners by highlighting points of interest, or by reading short, grabbing passages. Readers will also keep an independent journal to record thoughts, ideas and reactions as they read through their chosen list of books.
"The English teachers and I coordinated this project, with the help of the entire seventh and eighth grade team of teachers," said junior high Vice Principal Kathleen Hanson, noting that while in past years CBA has completed other reading efforts, this is the first year for Project READ.
An end-of-year party is planned to celebrate students' success. A junior high awards ceremony will recognize the top readers in both the seventh and eighth grades.