The kids yelled, screamed, pumped their fists and jumped up and down.

It was not a rock concert but a reading assembly Monday in the McPherson Middle School auditorium.

 


The kids yelled, screamed, pumped their fists and jumped up and down.
It was not a rock concert but a reading assembly Monday in the McPherson Middle School auditorium.
So what’s got these kids at MMS so excited about reading?
Besides some rock music with the lyrics tweaked to an academic theme, it’s a reading program called Fantasy AR, which is in its second year at the middle school.
Students are tested and placed on balanced teams based on their abilities.
Points are awarded for books read. The harder the book, the more points earned. An average book is worth five to 20 points. Classics can be worth 30 points.
The top three readers last year, Molly Black, Price Kramer and Sarah Houston, each had hundreds of points.
Top students and teams win prizes.
This year the top team can win a double lunch hour plus a “Mooving trophy.”
OK, it has a cow on it instead of a book, but the kids don’t seem to care.
They’re pumped.
Fiction and fantasy series seem to be poplar with the middle school crowd.
Black said she likes J.K. Rollins, author of the Harry Potter series, and Rick Riordan, another fantasy series author.
“I have always liked to read ever since I was little,” she said. “It takes me into another world. Each book is different. Each book is a different experience.”
Keyana Wilson, student, said she remembers her mom reading to her when she was little — that’s what got her started with books. She likes Lemony Snicket’s books.
Teachers at MMS see the program as a way to get students to read across genres.
“They read books they have never read before,” said Karen Loganbill, literature teacher. “They read harder books.”
Even those who Loganbill says are reluctant readers are starting to pick up on the excitement about the program in the school’s halls.
Taryn Vetter, literature teacher, said she has seen an overall increase in reading since the program was implemented last year.
“I think it definitely encourages the kids to read. I think my kids are reading more,” she said. “I think it is the conversation around the school.”
The student’s first session of Fantasy AR started Monday and will run through Nov. 30.
Other students honored for their high reading points for last year were Leah Hughes, Vincent Evans, Michelle Carrillo, C.J. Steiner, Wilson, Madison Shandy, Julia Eilert, Lindsey Moore, Paxton Leaf, Michael Smith, Kyle Brewer and Olivia Hansen.