2013-06-13 / Schools
Students surpass goal of reading challenge
EATONTOWN — First-grade students at Margaret L. Vetter School were among a select group of students throughout Monmouth, Middlesex and Ocean counties to exceed the challenge to read 1,000 books in three months.
Two classes each from schools in Eatontown, Hazlet, Old Bridge, Perth Amboy, Brick and Point Pleasant participated in the 2013 New Jersey League of Municipalities’ (NJLM) Mayor’s Book Club, all exceeding the goal.
“The kids were fantastic,” Eatontown Mayor Gerald Tarantolo said in an interview.
“I think we achieved the objective, instilling in the children that reading is a trait that they should … pursue with active energy.”
As part of the initiative, students were asked to read a minimum of eight books each. The school, whose students reached 1,000 books by the end of April, won $500.
According to Kevin Iozzi, principal at Margaret L. Vetter School, the students almost doubled their goal by reading a total of 1,980 books.
To ensure that students reached their goal, Iozzi said teachers collected reading logs and sent new logs home.
“The one challenge that we faced was maintaining the same level of enthusiasm in the students over a four-month period when they are used to rewards coming in a shorter amount of time,” he said in an email.
“We would tally the number of books about every other week to help keep them motivated.”
In addition, special guests visited the school to read to the children. These included the mayor and Linda Foster, mentoring coordinator at Monmouth University, and students from the university, or “reading buddies,” who read with the students every Friday. Parents were readers during the Read Across America celebration.
“The parents were very supportive and really took the challenge seriously,” he said.
Monmouth University’s School of Education, in partnership with Mayor Tarantolo and the Educational Foundation of the New Jersey League of Municipalities, launched the Mayor’s Book Club on Feb. 1 with a celebratory kickoff celebration at Monmouth University and special events in the first-grade classrooms.
According to Lynn Romeo, dean of the School of Education at Monmouth University, all of the participating schools exceeded the book-reading goal and will receive $500 awards from the League of Municipalities for classroom libraries.
Along with Margaret L. Vetter School in Eatontown, participating schools included Middle Road School in Hazlet, James A. McDivitt School in Old Bridge, James J. Flynn School in Perth Amboy, Drum Point School in Brick, and Nellie F. Bennett School in Point Pleasant.
Iozzi said participating in the program was beneficial to everyone involved.
“The immediate and most important benefit in participating in this program is the amount of reading that each child completed in the four-month period. They far exceeded their goal,” Iozzi said.
“The monetary award for the classroom libraries is a bonus and will benefit future classes through the purchase of more books.”