SA students accumulate reading points to tape up principal
Published 12:08 pm Friday, February 13, 2015
Southampton Academy’s Knox Butler, 12, can’t tell you how many books he has read over the past two months.
But the sixth-grader can tell you that his 747.7 AR points secured him 35 pieces of duct tape, which he, and the other students, used to tape Lower School Principal Faith Best to the elevator maintenance door. On Wednesday, Knox admitted he was excited to wake up and go to school.
“It was pretty fun to see someone taped to the door,” he said. “I’ve never seen that before. It was pretty cool.”
Most students thought it was pretty funny to see Best dangling, however, it made one student jealous.
“I’ve always wanted to be taped to the wall,” said fifth-grader Emma Belmonte, 11. “If they let kids be taped up, I’ll do it next time.”
Emma described being taped to a wall as “just fun.” However, she also enjoyed contributing to Best’s sticky situation.
“I just kind of put the tape up there,” Emma said about her strategy with the seven pieces of tape her 35 points netted her. “I probably read 10 or 15 books. The one I was most into was a series on time travel. They went back in time to fix history.”
Second-grade teacher Lauren Jernigan said the children were pretty excited about the event, “Hang AR to the Wall.”
“They had all been talking about it for weeks,” she said, adding that the second grade had 661 total points, or 88 pieces of tape. “We kept mini iPads in the room so that the kids could take AR tests.”
Every couple of months, Southampton Academy has some sort of reward for AR points, and the next one will be an ice cream social: “I read, you read, we all read for ice cream.”
Reading specialist Lisa Skeeters said the fun has also brought about some actual progress. The school recently had its mid-year tests, and the reading scores were dramatically better. Some of the students obtained more than a year of reading growth in one semester, and Skeeters said that’s something that will impact them for the rest of their school career and beyond.
“Reading is the foundation for learning,” she said. “Having successful reading skills leads to success in life.”
Before Best got to school Wednesday morning, she received several reminders about her fate.
“Some parents texted me this morning, telling me that their children cannot wait to get to school to tape me,” she said. “They got to school on time today!”
The lower school earned 10,788 AR points, not including pre-k and kindergarten. But the younger children did get to participate as well, by just racking up the number of books they read, which happens to be 1,724.
“I’m stuck,” Best said with a laugh. “But it’s awesome. It has boosted the enthusiasm for reading tremendously. Everyday, some student would look at me and say, ‘I can’t wait to tape you to the wall!”
Once the students completed their work, the assistant head of school had to hang there for 45 minutes. They left her arms free, however, so that she could read during the time. During that time, Best ended up working on finishing “Unbroken” on her iPad.
“I think it was funny when she put on her suit so that the tape wouldn’t stick to her clothes,” Knox said. “She looked like an astronaut.”
Knox, who led the Lower School in AR points, said he reads probably around two hours a day, and he’s even completed J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings.”
“Some of it was kind of hard to read, especially the Elven language,” he said. “But it was a good book.”
“The Hobbit” was a lot easier to read, Knox admitted. But it’s all good — fantasy and adventure are his favorite type of books to read.
“I like the different worlds that reading can take you to,” he said. “One day, you are reading about Abraham Lincoln, and then the next day you are reading about people who are trapped in a maze. You get to go to really cool places.”