"Students enhance imaginations, reading skills"

"Imaginations have soared and minds have expanded for pupils at Mirror Lake and Silver Lake elementary schools.Throughout the school year, students were challenged to read like never before with some high stakes involved.At Mirror Lake little readers struck a deal with Principal Linda Wilder. If they read 2,000 books by the end of May, Wilder would spend a day working on the school's roof.Silver Lake students in kindergarten through third grade were asked to read 500 minutes a month. Those in fourth through sixth grade were challenged to read 720 minutes a month.Children read books of their choice during school at silent reading times, before school and after school. Their diligence paid off.Mirror Lake students read at least 2,500 books by the end of May. And librarian Barb McElfish is still tallying the results. Silver Lake students read 2,225,335 minutes - equaling about 4.25 years of reading by a single person 24 hours a day.On Friday, Wilder will spend a day up on the Mirror Lake roof - rain or shine. And at Silver Lake, 205 students will be honored at a special assembly with trophies Friday for their reading efforts.It was a slow start back in January when we made the deal, Wilder said. But there was no doubt they'd make it. Now I'm getting ready to work on the roof.Parent Lesley Coffee, who helped organize Mirror Lake's reading goals through the PTA, said children were eager to meet the reading challenge.I put it out there and they just did it, Coffee said. The purpose was to have kids read for recreation instead of watching TV. We just wanted to get them to read.Silver Lake third-grader Brittney Tosevigen, 9, said she read close to 30 books during the reading challenge.I read a lot of books and what I read was pretty engaging, Brittney said. Books take me to a different place, I love to read them.Fifth-grader Susan Kim agreed.When I read I'm so absorbed, Susan said. I don't hear what's going on around me or even when my mom is calling me.Both Brittney and Susan found their vocabulary expanded when they read. When they came across words such as vast, vivid and immense, the girls looked them up and tried to remember their meanings.Mirror Lake student sixth-grader Carissa Haber, 12, enjoyed reading her selection from Oprah's Book Club, called Where the Heart Is.I think reading makes you smarter, said Carissa, adding that she read 15 books during the reading challenge. Plus, it's something that I like to do. I always want to keep reading.Carissa's classmate, Ana Velasquez, 12, who also read 15 books, said reading takes her mind and puts it right into a book.I like reading thick books, Ana said. I just go and lay down. Sometimes my dad thinks I'm locking myself from the world, but I don't think so. Reading is fun."

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