This is the article that was published about the kick-off party! Yippee!
St. Catharines High School students read all about it
Nov 3, 2006 ST. CATHARINES -- What started out as an attempt to boost a school's literacy rate has grown to become one of its most popular clubs.
And as a reading program at St. Catharines High School kicks off its fourth year, it continues to attract a wide variety of students.
"Each year, it gets bigger and bigger," said librarian Karyn.
Of course, students had more than words to bring them out to Tuesday's noon-hour launch -- there was also a decorated cake and donated pizza.
But Karyn said she expects more than a few of the students will sign on to the program, which has them being awarded points for reading, whatever material they choose, be it a book, a magazine, or surfing the net to find lyrics to a favourite song.
"Kids are really excited to be here," Karyn said. "For more than the pizza."The program lasts for the remainder of the year, during which students are encouraged to seek out reading opportunities and record their progress. Points are awarded for what they've read and accumulated for prizes, such as coupons for book stores, CDs and DVDs. And at the end of the year, the students' names are put into a draw for major prizes.
Karyn said the program has grown significantly at the high school, from 50 or 60 participants to the nearly 200 who are expected to sign up this year.
"I think the students who have been here for three years have come to expect CI reads," she said. "It really builds a sense of community in the school."
"CI Reads really tries to show students reading is not just sitting at home reading a novel," she said. "Reading can be a very social thing too."Nancy, who has taught English and history at the High School for the past three years and is the school's representative on the District School Board of Niagara's literacy council, said the goal of programs such as this is to boost literacy levels, which in Niagara are below the provincial average. And at the High School, which has a diverse population with a higher percentage of English as a Second Language students than most schools, reading comprehension is particularly challenging.
Last March, when the Grade 10 reading test was last administered, 68 per cent of the students passed. The goal this year is to bump that up to 75 per cent.
The school also hopes to stress to the kids the importance of literacy in their daily lives after school.
"The main goal is to teach kids that reading is a part of your life and always will be," she said.