Denton Avenue School students collectively amassed 516,587 minutes — 358.74 days — of reading for the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge, which ran from May 8 to Sept. 8.
“Half a million minutes was about 50,000 more minutes than last year so we definitely progressed,” said Donna Deodato, the school’s librarian.
Deodato said Denton Avenue usually ranks within the top 20 of schools in New York State during the nationwide program. In 2017, students nationwide logged a collective 138,399,392 minutes — or 263.32 years — read by children and young adults.
The PTA’s Pick a Reading Partner (PARP) Committee served ice pops as a “cool” treat on Sept. 20. But that’s not the only incentive for reading, said Assistant Principal Beth Rosenman.
“Last year, we were treated to a reading carnival and they brought in authors and it was a perk for doing so well in the program,” Rosenman said. “They even had characters dressed up like Clifford, which the kids loved.”
Alan John, a Denton Avenue student, said the program “was a fun and interesting way to become a better reader and increase my reading level.”
Rosenman said teachers embrace the program because research shows the amount of minutes, not so much the amount of books, helps improve reading ability and comprehension.
“At the end of the summer, there’s the ‘summer slide’ where students regress in their reading ability,” Rosenman said. “But our teachers have commented that our students are either maintaining or increasing their reading level. We attribute it to our participation in the summer reading program.”
Deodato and computer teacher Christine Lorenzo organized the school’s participation in the program, “which has never had this high level of widespread participation,” Rosenman said.
Students Matthew Palakkadan, Liam Watkins, Sajiv Nambiar, Preston Wu, Tristan Ranallo and Layla Devadas received certificates for attaining the top reading times in each of their respective grades.
“Layla, the fifth grade winner, was the top reader of the school,” Rosenman said.
Devadas read more than 30,000 minutes alone.
“Summer reading challenge was an excellent way to keep track of reading minutes, setting goals, and accomplishing them for the summer,” said student Hallie Lee.