Healthy minds, healthy bodies
This month, students at J.F. Burns got excited about reading and physical fitness with help from the school’s 14-year-old program, Laps for Literacy.
This program motivates the students to spend more time reading or being read to. The physical fitness component is encouraged school wide but is not a part of the competition. All students, kindergarten to fourth grade, participate at some level. The reading is measured by the amount of time students spend reading outside of school.
Laps for Literacy concludes in mid May when the top readers walk around Landen Lake with their principal, Cheryl Montag. Montag has been working at J.F. Burns for 30 years and talks about the importance of reading and the effect Laps for Literacy has on the students.
“The purpose is to encourage the love of reading,” Montag said. “It started out as an opportunity for our children to read for enjoyment, that was the biggest piece going into it.”
Montag said the program’s goals are two-fold.
“It teaches students to read for fun but also the importance of physical fitness.”
Each month, the number of minutes each student has read is totaled and the students that have invested the most time receive a hand picked book from their principal. Classrooms in each grade compete against each other and track their progress as the program progresses.
The 100% participation record at the school is part of the evidence of the success of this program in years past. The students that are not yet old enough to read are allowed to count the minutes that their parents spend reading to them, allowing the whole family to get involved with the fun of Laps for Literacy.
Nathan Edwards, grade 2, and Elaina Brausch, grade 4, were top readers last year for the 1st and 3rd grades, respectively.
Both students expressed that their favorite part of the program last year was walking around the lake with their peers and principal. Elaina spoke about why she chooses to spend her time reading outside of school.
“I really like chapter books … I got a lot of books for Christmas this year and I’m really excited to read them all. I don’t have a lot of free time so I try to do what is most important, and reading is one of my top priorities.”