Mayor Sims challenges Fairview students to read 4,000 books

Jan. 17, 2013 @ 05:02 PM

In the age of the Internet and video games, getting kids to read one book could be a challenge, but the fourth graders at Fairview Elementary are working to read 4,000.
High Point Mayor Bernita Sims was invited by fourth-grade teacher Cheryl Pegues to speak to her students.
“By the time I got there, it was all the fourth-grade classes,” Sims said. “We got together in the library and started talking about their career goals and being a teacher or a police officer, and we talked about the importance of education and being well read.”
Sims then spontaneously asked how many books were in the Fairview Media Center and the librarian said there are about 8,000 books.
“I asked them ‘Do you guys think you could read half the books in here?’ They said yes, and got really excited about it,” Sims said.
Pegues said the kids have been serious and excited about the challenge.
“They get really excited about it, just like anything new, but they read with a buddy, with me, with their big brother or sister. They have no idea what the incentive is at the end, but they want it,” she said.
Not knowing didn’t stop the kids from guessing what the incentive prize is.
“I think she’s gonna do something big for our school, like make it bigger or something,” said Sarahi Martinez a fourth grader at Fairview who has contributed 15 books to the goal.
The fourth graders have time in the morning or afternoon for Sustained Silent Reading, and the kids have been using this time to meet the challenge.
The kids already are off to a good start, many of them meeting their 12 books per week goal.
“I was surprised when the mayor came, because I didn’t know our teacher knew the mayor,” said Mahogany Gidderon.
Jennifer Fabian found her confidence for the challenge.
“(At first) I felt like I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t read that many books. Now I feel like we can read all the books,” she said.
Tamia Shipman has read 75 books and keeps record of each one that she reads.
The Mayor’s Challenge was so inspirational to Fairview Principal Rhonda Copeland that she challenged the whole school to the same thing.
“Being that literacy is one of our focus areas, we’ve tried to really pump it up here at Fairview, to see which grade can do it first,” Copeland said. “We really wanted to embrace literacy, and this is another way we can do that. It was great for someone else to emphasize how powerful reading can be.”
jhowse@hpe.com | 888-3617