Wednesday evening, a group of about 75 kids and parents gathered at the for this year’s Reading Power Pajama Night. The event was part of the ninth annual Reading Power Read-a-Thon, which encourages students from seven local schools to read as much as they can over a two-week period.
Dressed in pajamas and totting stuffed animals, the kids were ready to take a break from their own reading and settle in to hear Ellie Anderson, Belmont Youth Services Librarian, and Central teacher Julie Grogan-Crane read from "Stanley the Dog", "My Lucky Day", "Grumpy Bird", and others.
Only two hands went up when Reading Power co-chair Julie Shubert asked how many members of the “1,000-minute club” were in the audience. But almost everyone had read at least 100 minutes, earning them a piece of the 16-foot long paper dragon at Central Elementary.
“It’s fast and furious when they come in at recess to get their names up,” said Reading Power co-chair Lisa Meltzer Penn. Since Jan. 13, students from kindergarten through fifth grade have read 228,000 minutes.
“It’s the kids who make this happen,” said Meltzer Penn. “But at Central there's even competition among the teachers to get into the coveted 1,000 Minute Club!”
In addition to getting kids excited about picking up books, Reader Power is the second largest fundraiser for , a non-profit that supports local educational programs. So far, Central Elementary students, along with their parents, have raised $41,000.
“It’s good to hit up the grandparents for a check,” one Central parent said last night. Last year, six participating schools raised a record total of $217,000. With a new participant, , Reading Power co-chairs are optimistic this year’s event will exceed last year’s achievement.
Students who came last night earned a bonus 60 minutes in their reading logs—not bad for one evening.
Meltzer Penn encouraged kids to keep reading during the final days before the event ends this Friday. “But don’t stay up until midnight,” she said, “unless you have your parents permission.”