Independence students read 51 million words - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Independence students read 51 million words


For the last five years, St. John School in Independence has organized a "Reading Counts" program. It challenges students to read as many words as possible during the school year.

"I can read really fast, and I read on the bus and stuff," said sixth grader Sydney Etten.

Sydney Etten is this year's top reader, with more than five million words read. But the entire school did well, shattering the original goal.

"Our first goal was 37 million words, and if they did that they got to make me into a sundae. Our second goal was 40 million and if they did that they got to have a pizza party. They ended up reading 51 million words," said St. John Principal Justin Nosbisch.

Here's what the students had to do to reach their goal. First, each student read a book, then he or she took a computerized test on the content of the book. If the student answered seven out of ten questions correctly, then the number of words in the book got counted toward the student's and the school's total.

One of the main goals of reading counts is to get even more kids excited about reading.

"Reading everyday. Reading for the enjoyment of reading," said Nosbisch.

Sydney Etten is definitely excited about reading.

"I just like to read," she said.

She hopes to defend her top reader title next year as a seventh grader.

About 120 students from kindergarten through eighth grader participated in "Reading Counts." The top grade was sixth grade. Those students read more than 18 million words this school year.

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