NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The William B. Ward Elementary School is charging through the final days of a hugely successful readathon. The school that pioneered the month-long activity for the City School District of New Rochelle in 2013, has filled October with events to build students' love of books.
Guest readers have included Mayor Noam Bramson, children's author Alyssa Satin Capucilli and the Iona College girls' basketball team. On P.J. Storytime night, Principal Franco Miele read "Wild About Books" to more than 200 students who gathered in their pajamas for the evening. Also at that event, students paired up with older students reading to their younger schoolmates.
"It's a beautiful thing to see the community reading together, and the school spirit," said Susan Fried, a PTA organizer of the Ward readathon.
Ward is one of three schools holding October readathons this month; the others are the George M. Davis and Jefferson elementary schools. The events, in which students find sponsors to donate based on how many minutes they read, are major fundraisers for the PTAs, which support enrichment activities for the students.
Ward Kindergarten teacher Geri-Ann Lezi, who is on the committee organizing the events, said the students eagerly dug into the reading initiative.
"The parents have been emailing saying, 'I've never seen my kid so interested in reading!'" she said.
Count second-grader Emily Erber among the eager readers.
"I like that I get to go through a lot of funny adventures," she said.
The school's goal this month is to have students log a total of 2.5 million minutes of reading, up from the 2-million-minute goal they exceeded last year. Second-grader Leo Adams believes they can, when you consider all the students (more than 1,000) and add their reading in school and at home.
"If we combine all the reading together, it's a lot," he said.