Muskoka Beechgrove PS held their first Summer Reading Program – and 62 students achieved their reading goals! The students met in the library on September 20th and celebrated with pizza and cupcakes. One student, now in grade 6, achieved her goal of reading 100 books – even though a few people tried to dissuade her from it thinking it was too ambitious. The determined “can do” attitude continued with a grade 4 student who read 87 books and a grade 7 student who read 75 books.

The school’s Teacher and Librarian, Mrs. Corinna Thompson and the school’s principal, Mrs. Black, envision a reading culture in which students want to read, not just because it’s part of their daily homework. The Summer Reading Program was one way to spark the joy of reading.

Before the summer vacation, Mrs. Thompson visited all the classrooms talking about setting achievable goals. The goal was for students to read at least five books. To record their progress, students received a bookmark. These bookmarks were returned, with their parent’s signature, in September. Several parents wrote thank you notes because they appreciated seeing their children reading throughout the summer.

What’s more, the program ignited interest in a number of students who were not avid readers. For example, one student who was not a big reader last year, is now hooked on Rick Riordan’s Lightning Thief series. Mrs. Thompson described how, in the morning, she rushed into the library exclaiming, “There you are! I finished it! I need the next one!” It’s “that kind of excitement that I really want to see for all kids,” Mrs. Thompson said. In fact, she hopes the Summer Reading Program becomes “The thing to do at Beechgrove.”