VIS students top Alabama in Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

Valley Intermediate School placed top in Alabama in the Scholastic Summer Reading Contest. First Lady of Alabama Dianne Bentley will present the students with an award for their accomplishment on Oct. 22. (Contributed)

Valley Intermediate School placed top in Alabama in the Scholastic Summer Reading Contest. First Lady of Alabama Dianne Bentley will present the students with an award for their accomplishment on Oct. 22. (Contributed)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—Valley Intermediate School students proved they love to read by taking first place in the state in the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge.

The nationwide contest is aimed at preventing the “summer slide,” when children lose some of what they have learned over the school year, VIS Principal Robin Hollingsworth explained.

The Summer Reading Challenge encourages children to continue reading throughout the summer by challenging them to log as many reading minutes as possible. Minutes are then tallied and schools whose students have recorded the most minutes are awarded a special prize.

“We register all of our students in April and May,” Hollingsworth said. “They record all the minutes they read in school in April and May and then over the summer.”

Continuing to read over the summer is especially important during the intermediate school years as the summer slide is especially prevalent among fourth and fifth grade students, Hollingsworth explained, noting this past summer was VIS’s third year of participating in the challenge.

“It’s to increase the volume of reading over the summer… and (encourage) parent involvement as well,” Hollingsworth said.

The First Lady of Alabama Dianne Bentley will visit VIS on Oct. 22 to congratulate the students on their accomplishment and present them an award.

“They’re pumped,” Hollingsworth said.

But the challenge is more than about logging reading minutes, Hollingsworth said she hopes it also inspires the students to love reading.

“Over the summer they’re not restricted (on what to read), so it can be a time to foster a true love of reading,” Hollingsworth said. “You’re just reading things you love… (for) pure enjoyment, it’s not a chore.”