Local organizations are raising funds to save the school reading program

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Last month, several local organizations helped support a local school.

The Mineral Lake Lions, represented by the lion Steve; American Legion Post No. 148, represented by John SanFillipo; Eatonville-Mount Rainier Chapter Eagles Aerie No. 3158, represented by Christine Blackett; and the Eatonville Lions, represented by Christine Wendell, all donated hundreds of dollars to cover a critical reading program at Columbia Crest A-STEM Academy.

The program is called Accelerated Reader and it has been used by the school for almost a decade. This year, however, due to the fundraising hiatus caused by COVID-19, the Columbia Crest Parent Teacher Organization did not have the money to purchase the program, and the district was unwilling to use surplus funds to support the popular reading program.

At Columbia Crest, Accelerated Reader is used in grades 1-8 and complements the curriculum provided by the district.

AR encourages personal reading. Students choose books at their reading level based on their interests. For students who can read above grade level, AR is an opportunity to surpass themselves. For those who cannot access school materials because they read below grade level, AR provides a way for them to read at the ability level. Additionally, AR promotes a love of reading by encouraging students to search for books that interest them.

Teachers and the PTO encourage students to achieve their goals. Each book is worth a certain number of points. After students complete a book, they take a test, which generates points, and each student has a point goal for the term. The goal is generated using an algorithm in the program that calculates the number of points per term, based on the student’s reading level and the suggested daily number of minutes of reading (usually 15). Prizes are awarded to students who achieve their goals.

The AR program can generate enthusiasm for reading. Students who otherwise wouldn’t choose to pick up a book are pushed to win prizes and compete with their peers. As a result, students become better readers, find more enjoyment in reading, and perform better in their classes.

Augmented Reality helps students become lifelong readers, giving them a hobby they can enjoy for a lifetime, and can propel them into the classroom, giving them a head start in their college careers and their future professional life.

Students, parents, teachers and members of the Columbia Crest family thanked all organizations for their show of support. Contributing organizations were publicly thanked at the Columbia Crest BMX Rally recently, but the gratitude is sure to continue as Columbia Crest expands its tradition of literacy.

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