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Challenge: Read 3 books a month, share with others
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READING

Gainesville students also are participating in a program that aims to instill a love of reading. New Holland Core Knowledge Academy is seeking volunteers to read to children in 30-minute intervals on Dec. 17. To sign up, contact Mary Price at 770-287-1095 or mary.price@gcssk12.net.
Some Hall County middle schoolers will spread their love for reading across the community as three schools compete in a reading rally that ends in April.

A few Chestatee, Davis and da Vinci middle school language arts teachers are challenging their students to read 15 books, three each month, before the competition ends. But the rally requires students to go beyond their own classrooms and favorite reading spots and read to others, said Chestatee Middle language arts teacher Debbie Clark.

The RALLYING (Reading and Learning Language involving Youth In Neighborhood Groups) program requires students to read at least one book a month to their siblings, children at the special needs school Challenged Child and Friends or to residents of retirement homes. Clark said the goal is to get students to love to read and to share their favorite books with others.

“So many of them on the high school level just don’t (love to read) by the time they get there, and reading is the key to everything,” Clark said.

The reading rally helps middle school students to reach the state curriculum’s goal of reading 25 books each school year, she said. All participating students will receive a T-shirt and the three schools will earn either gold, silver or bronze medals based on the number of books students read. Clark said teachers are seeking community sponsors to provide students with small prizes.

Teresa Haymore, a language arts teacher at the da Vinci Academy, said she hopes more schools will participate in the rally next year to give more students a fun way to reach their academic goals. Haymore said her students have started a blog for the rally where they recommend good reads to others.

She said class favorites include “The Outsiders,” “The Diary of Anne Frank” and books in the vampire series “Twilight.”

“They’re so engaged in these books. You can’t stop them,” Haymore said.

Davis Middle language arts teacher Laura Shaw said the rally allows students to choose at least two books each month that are on grade level. When given the opportunity to select their own titles, students can become ravenous readers who enjoy being wrapped up in another realm or time period, she said.

“It gives them an insight into another world,” Shaw said. “That’s what I love about novels.”
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