Donlin Drive goes for an Olympic reading record

Mathes said students have done well on their English-language arts tests since beginning reading challenges at the school only one year ago. The fall reading challenge involved a Super Bowl theme in which each classroom chose a National Football League team to represent.

"Each challenge has started out as an idea," Sardella said. "This year, it really gained momentum."

The Super Bowl challenge ended with a classroom winning a pizza party for reading the most books, Sardella said. However, he felt that the "Book a trip to the Donlin Drive Olympics" challenge had more inspiration from the community.

Sardella described the Olympic reading challenge to be more of a community effort because the parents, teachers and students were very involved in getting kids excited about reading. He said that all future reading efforts would take that path as well.

"We can't keep up with the books they have read," Mathes said.

During the closing ceremonies held at 9:20 a.m. Friday Feb. 12 at DDE, Sardella mentioned that the school had officially read 2,400 books and that about 200 more slips were still in the completion box waiting to be tallied.

Parents have also noticed the added "reading enthusiasm" that their children are experiencing, Mathes said.

Students have been choosing to read a book rather watch television more often since the challenges began, Reed said.

"It's really exciting, they're coming and telling you about the books they read and books they want to read next," Reed said.

Teachers have also had to borrow books from other libraries upon request of the DDE students, Reed said.

The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics will host their opening ceremonies tonight, but DDE has closed their winter reading challenge as of this morning and are ready to start the next challenge.

Students will soon embark on the next reading challenge, "Set a Reading Record Just Like the Pros," at the beginning of March and will read through May. Students will learn about different sports and record-setting athletes and try to match or surpass a homerun record or a running back's rushing statistics.

Donlin Drive Elementary students celebrate the closing ceremonies of their latest reading challenge, "Book a trip to the Donlin Drive Olympics." The ceremony was held at 9:20 a.m. Friday Feb. 12 at DDE. PHOTO BY FARAH JADRAN PIKE

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