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Reading is a Hit at Bon Air!

The incredible success of the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates re-energized enthusiasm for baseball with the younger generation this summer, and even into the fall.  And thanks to a new initiative designed to promote year-round reading, the excitement for literature has also reached a fever pitch at Bon Air Elementary School!

Principal Amy Lenart and staff celebrated opening day of Bon Air’s baseball-themed “Summer Reading Challenge” last May.  From there, students were asked to step up to plate and read three books over the summer months.  Students who completed the “triple play” earned a ticket to special celebration event on Wednesday, September 25th featuring games, fun learning activities, and a visit from the Pirate Parrot.  The program was made possible through a PPG grant and support from the Bon Air Elementary PTA.

Nearly 450 students in grades K-3 participated in the Challenge, including incoming kindergarten students who had the opportunity to earn a ticket to the event by completing a book given to them at orientation.

According to Ms. Lenart, the September event was designed to serve as a momentum-builder for this year’s Accelerated Reader Program.  “We are a literacy-focused building, so we want our students to keep reading all year long – including the summer months,” she says.  “Research shows that students who continue to stay academically motivated over the summer will be better prepared to begin their studies in the next grade level.”

Ms. Lenart says that the school will analyze data from the year-end 2012-2013 proficiency assessments and compare it this year’s fall test results to gauge the impact of the summer reading program.

Bon Air Elementary is now in its third year as a literacy-focused K-3 building.  “We are extremely excited with what is going on here.  Our end-of-year data from last year was phenomenal,” says Ms. Lenart.  She adds that the school’s WIN, or “What I Need” program, will continue to move forward this year with an emphasis on higher level comprehension skills.  She is also pleased with the building’s efforts in helping kindergarten students achieve benchmark in reading.  “If we can get the majority of our students – like 98 percent – to benchmark in kindergarten, we are setting them up for success.”

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