STOCKTON — Hundreds of Stockton Unified second-graders were challenged last fall to a friendly competition: read as many books as possible.
Six months and 15,338 books later, everyone is a winner.
The pupils, hailing from Hamilton, Taft, Van Buren, Fremont-Lopez and Monroe elementaries, were selected to take part in a collaborative reading program created in partnership between the district, Stockton Heat hockey team and Mayor Michael Tubbs.
While a winner ultimately will be declared for reading the most hours, all second-graders at all five schools and their families, are invited to attend the Heat’s final home game for free on Saturday against San Jose.
Clearly, it was a success.
“We were thrilled with the outcome,” Heat CEO Brian Petrovek said on Thursday. “It was a different approach to touch more kids and get them to read more books, (rather than) having books forced upon them.”
The bigger goal of the program is to ultimately improve reading skills for children who are about to enter third grade.
Having third-graders master reading skills is an important indicator for their academic future, as children who cannot read well by the end of the year fall behind, according to University of the Pacific’s Beyond Our Gates initiative.