Friday, December 9, 2011

Six-year-old earns top reading award!

By Pauline Liu
At the tender age of six, Anna Greene of Arkville has distinguished herself at Margaretville Central School by being the first member of the school’s 1,000 Books Club to actually read 1,000 books.
Even after she and her family were forced to evacuate their home, which was damaged by Tropical Storm Irene on August 28, Anna kept on reading in order to reach her goal. How does Anna feel about her accomplishment? As she thought about her answer, she fidgeted in her seat and her long brown hair swung forward.
“Very, very, very good,” she said with a big smile that revealed two missing front teeth.
Marking the event
To celebrate Anna’s achievement, a party was held in Denise Asher’s first-grade classroom last Thursday afternoon. Anna and her 13 classmates happily munched on cookies and slurped pink lemonade, while singing “Happy 1000 Books Club to you.” “I think it’s incredible that she worked this hard,” said Asher. “A thousand books is a lot of books, especially for a first-grader.”
School Librarian Patricia Moore presented Anna with the 1000 Books Club Reading Award Certificate, a plush toy and a Barnes & Noble gift card. She explained that Anna was one of the first students in the school to sign up for the program when it launched at MCS about 17 months ago.
“She is the first to read 1,000 books and no one else even comes close,” said Moore “I think we started when Anna was finishing Pre-K. She kept reading straight through kindergarten and into first grade.”
Many took part
It took a community effort to get the childhood literacy program off the ground. It’s available to kids ages three to seven, who live in the school district. It was originally funded in part by a grant from the O’Connor Foundation. The PTA provided the orange tote bags for kids to carry the books in. The MCS Library, Fairview Public Library and Skene Memorial Library all participate in the program. Anna’s parents and the Fairview’s Assistant Director Ken Meskill were special guests at the party.
“Anna, you must have borrowed 50 or 60 books from us!” said Meskill, as he congratulated her.
Anna explained she can’t count to 1,000 yet. So her family not only kept count of the books for her, they also read along with her. Her parents and her sister Mary, who’s in seventh grade, took turns reading with Anna just before bedtime. “She goes to bed at 8:30 p.m. and most of the time, she can read the books herself,” said her dad, Tom, who’s a mechanic. “For fun, I use funny voices when I read and she picks up on that. It’s really neat to see her reading, because both her mother and I like to read.”
Family bonding
Anna’s mom, Tina, an office manager, explained that their nightly reading routine provided good family bonding experiences. Studies show there are many benefits to reading aloud to children. They associate it with love and attention. It also instills children with a sense of security and promotes intelligence. According to, “When you read to them, you are building pathways in their brains needed for successful reading experiences.”
Anna’s parents made sure Anna kept up with her reading, even after the flood forced them from their house on Main Street in Margaretville, which they called home for 19 years. For now, they’re living in a rental home in Arkville, while they look into repairing their own house. “We don’t have any TV or Internet any more, so we’re reading a lot more, because that’s all there is to do” explained Tina.
Anna likes fiction. “My favorite book is the pumpkin book!” she said with excitement. Since it’s been over a year since she read it, she can’t remember the title of the book or the author, but she does remember the main character was a mouse.
Prefers fiction
“She doesn’t like true stories,” explained Tina. “She’ll say, ‘Not another true one!’” The only “true” books Anna enjoys are those by author Bruce Larkin, because he ends each of his books with a funny statement about himself.
When the Greenes began reading with Anna, they were up for the challenge, even though the idea of reading 1,000 books seemed out of reach.
“We’re a little sad that we’re done, because it took us so long,” said Tina. “Every time we took a trip, whether it was camping or whatever, we took the orange bag with us.” Anna and her family feel that the best part of the book project wasn’t so much its completion, as the fun they had getting there.
“I’m happy, but I’m going to miss it,” said Anna.
from issue dated 10/18/2011 permission to republish from the Catskill Mountain News publisher

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