For students at Deephaven Elementary, February is a month of particular excitement. Over the past three weeks, students have been diligently keeping track of their reading minutes, excitedly awaiting the end of the month when they will find out how much students at Deephaven have been able to read. This is all part of the annual Deephaven Read-a-thon fundraiser, where students from all grades challenge themselves to increase their reading time as a way to raise money for their school.
"The Deephaven Read-a-thon started 4 years ago as a way to celebrate I Love to Read Month," explained Elizabeth Fazendin. Dr. Fazendin has served as chair of the Read-a-thon at Deephaven for the past four years. She is one of many parent volunteers who have worked together to organize the details of the event and oversee the fundraiser. "It's a simple concept: students record their reading minutes and, if they choose, they can use our online fundraising platform to ask for pledges for their reading efforts," she said.
To make the competition more interesting, students also have the opportunity to compete for prizes both individually and as a class. Their chances of winning increase with the number of minutes they spend reading and the money they raise. Students are given the freedom to read books from any genre, so they can individualize their reading time to their personal interests.
So far, the Deephaven Read-a-thon has been a resounding success. With one week still left in the fundraiser, students have already read over 225,000 total minutes and have raised over $30,000. This money will go towards the PTA, which will use it to implement new programs and grants for Deephaven students and teachers. All the while, students from all grades have been learning to appreciate the value reading holds in their lives and education.
"It's so important to encourage our kids' love for reading," Dr. Fazendin said. "Reading more at a young age provides more confidence in reading skills, which makes school a little easier and opens opportunities for further reading and expanding their knowledge. [The Read-a-thon] is also a great chance to set a goal and try to reach it, which helps kids in self-esteem and confidence with achievement."