Moffat County students celebrate reading with dancing, games and food | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County students celebrate reading with dancing, games and food

Passport to Reading program sparks students to read on their own

Michael Neary

Joe Padon, a Moffat County High School teacher and media technician, celebrates the Passport to Reading program with Moffat County fourth and fifth-graders at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion on Monday. The event was a reward for students who read a certain amount of books during the school year.

Sometimes reading warrants a celebration.

The Passport to Reading program, for fourth and fifth-graders throughout the district, lets students choose the sorts of things they can read.

But it also, by requiring that the choose reading within particular genres, nudges them in the direction of reading they might not do if they were left completely on their own.

"It forces them to read outside something they'd normally pick up," said Joe Padon, a teacher and media technician for Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School. “So a lot of them find things they do enjoy that they might not have found otherwise.”. "So a lot of them find things they do enjoy that they might not have found otherwise."

Moffat County High School. "So a lot of them find things they do enjoy that they might not have found otherwise."

Padon coordinates the Passport to Reading program, which he says has been in motion for about five years.

Recommended Stories For You

More than 180 students celebrated their reading with a barbecue and ceremony at the Pavilion on Monday, playing games and garnering prizes based on the reading points they received — including Kindle reading devices for a number of the top readers.

The project received funding from Friends of Moffat County Education as well as support from the Rotary Club of Craig. Rotarian David Pressgrove acted as a master of ceremonies during Monday's celebration.

Linkin McCormick, who won the grand prize of a Kindle Fire with a case, said she especially likes books about magic.

"It just entertaining," said Linkin, a Sunset Elementary SchoolSunset Elementary School fifth-grader. “You don’t know what’s going to happen next.” fifth-grader. "You don't know what's going to happen next."

Sunset Elementary School fifth-grader. "You don't know what's going to happen next."

Kenleigh Pubanz, a fourth-grader at East Elementary schoolEast Elementary school, also said she liked fiction, including the Percy Jackson and Harry Potter series. , also said she liked fiction, including the Percy Jackson and Harry Potter series.

East Elementary school, also said she liked fiction, including the Percy Jackson and Harry Potter series.

"I just like a lot of books," said Kenleigh, who won a Kindle Fire as one of four students in the "outstanding individuals" category. And as Kenleigh described her interaction with books, it was clear that reading was not an onerous chore for her.

"I like to read during the night, because I'm in my PJs and it's comfy," she said.

Padon said that students receive "passports" at the beginning of the year, which have more than 30 slots where they can get stamps after they read works and pass test on them. The slots are grouped into various categories, ensuring that students will spread their reading out among different genres.

Erika Miller, an East Elementary School fourth-grade teacher, said the Passport to Reading programs was threaded into classroom activities throughout the year.

"They have independent reading time which we call 'DEAR time' — Drop Everything and Read," she said.

Miller said the children are also expected to read at home, and then they test in class. The whole program, she said, creates another reading angle for students.

"It keeps them motivated to be doing independent reading — reading for pleasure, and not just from their textbooks," Miller said.

For some students, such as East Elementary School fourth-grader Alexis Barraza, the best book is the kind that can make a reader laugh.

"I like to read the ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ series," he said. "It has a lot of comedy, which is why I like it."

Brook Wheeler, Owen Gifford, Megan Neton also won Kindle Fires in the “outstanding individuals” category, and 15 other students won awards for their reading.

Contact Michael Neary at 970-875-1794 or Contact Michael Neary at 970-875-1794 or mneary@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Education.Contact Michael Neary at 970-875-1794 or mneary@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Education.