The first weeks of November mark the end of a special event at Groveland Elementary School, the Groveland Read-a-thon. The Read-a-thon encourages students to get excited about reading at home while simultaneously raising money for their school.
The Read-a-thon is an annual event at Groveland and many of the other Minnetonka elementary schools. To participate, students record their reading minutes each day and qualify to win prizes by the end of the month if they read an exceptional amount. Special events, such as Dress as Your Favorite Book Character day, add another layer of excitement to the month-long challenge. Friends and family are invited to "sponsor" their student in the event, either through a flat donation or a per-minute rate. These funds are collected at the end of the month and donated to the school. The whole event was organized by the Groveland PTO and was headed by Jenny Benowitz and Ali King.
The Read-a-thon adapted to a virtual setting due to the pandemic, but this has not limited student excitement or participation. This year, more than ever, students are excited about reading and fundraising for their school. Additionally, the PTO decided to set a special goal for the Read-a-thon this year:
"Our theme this year is 'Passport to Reading,'" explain Jenny and Ali. "We may be limited in where we can physically travel this year, but we want kids to discover that books can take them on adventures around the world."
The funds generated from the Read-a-thon support the school, but Jenny and Ali believe that the greatest value of the event lies in its benefit to students. By encouraging students to read everyday, the Read-a-thon helps students establish important learning habits that can last a lifetime. "Studies show that kids who read from an early age do better academically, have bigger vocabularies and display increased empathy for others," Jenny and Ali say. "Plus, reading is fun and a great stress reliever. We love that our fundraiser encourages this important activity, in addition to raising money. "
While the total number of reading minutes for the school has still not been calculated, Jenny and Ali expect the school will beat its record from last year, which totalled 567,972 minutes. Check back with your Groveland friends on November 11 to find out how much time they spent reading over the past month!