Southampton students finish ‘Bikes for Books’ race
Published 12:51 pm Saturday, December 6, 2014
Earlier this month, the Southampton County school board created an incentive plan to encourage kids within the district to read. The program, “Bikes for Books,” provided two bikes for each of the four elementary schools to use as motivation for the students.
Although the district has been using reading programs and quizzing children on their comprehension abilities for quite some time, the board recognized the need for placing extra emphasis on literacy when discussing low test scores at their summer retreat.
“Some children are already motivated, while others may need some extra encouragement,” said Rodney Brown, director of Instruction at Southampton Public School District.
Strategically placing two bikes by the front doors of each school was all the inspiration that the students needed, however, as the district received record participation from the children in Pre-K through Grade 5.
“We recently surpassed 1,200 total points,” said Capron Elementary Principal Dr. Allison Francis. “I don’t even think that we reached 1,000 last year.”
On Friday afternoon, two lucky students at Capron — one boy and one girl — received brand new bikes for all their hard work after Librarian Joranda Baxter pulled their name from a bucket.
Although it seems that some students may have gained an advantage by reading more books and passing more quizzes than others, thus receiving more tickets in the drawing, Francis believes that every child had an equal chance at winning a bike.
In fact, to help every student participate, Capron assigned the last 20 minutes of every school day to picking up a book.
“Even the kids that don’t read much at home or struggle to read in school will pull out a carpet strip and sit on the floor to read a book at that time,” she said.
The main focus of such a program was to increase students’ reading levels and, by association, test scores. But Francis explained that they’ll continue to place emphasis on reading at Capron, even without using bikes as motivation.
“I believe that the more you read, the more fluent you become,” she said. “We’ll still have the Accelerated Reading Program and the quizzes, and students will still have chances to win prizes at the weekly drawings.”
The prizes may be much smaller, with books, crayons, markers, actions figures, and dolls up for grabs, but both Brown and Francis believe that students will continue to read at an accelerated rate.
“If (prizes) help them become stronger readers,” Brown previously told The Tidewater News, “then the program is a success.”