School issues reading challenge before Young Authors Week

HOOVER – Greystone Elementary School students are reading at a furious pace before a visit from one of their favorite authors.

The school’s annual Young Authors Week will be held from April 30 to May 4 and this year will include an appearance from Drew Daywalt, author of bestsellers “The Day the Crayons Quit” and “The Day the Crayons Came Home.”

“The students are having lots of fun, and it is really encouraging them to increase their volume of reading,” Principal Stacey Stocks said.

The effort kicked off in November 2017 with a school assembly, at which the Berry Middle School drama department performed a piece related to the theme focused on crayons.

A challenge of reading 500,000 pages before Young Authors Week was announced.

“He doesn’t make school visits often, so it’s remarkable that he’s coming to our school,” reading coach Cherry Johnson said.

Each grade has its own goal, and progress is being tracked in the school lobby on huge crayons created by a parent, Lupita Contreras, Johnson said.

As of Thursday, March 8, the school had totaled 388,674 pages.

First grade was leading the way with 80,379 pages followed by second grade with 79,069, third grade with 76,888, kindergarten with 55,020, fifth grade with 51,022 and fourth grade with 48,396.

“They get very positive energy off of competition,” Johnson said.

Various efforts have been held in support of the challenge, including craft turkeys with crayons for feathers during Thanksgiving; a hot cocoa challenge that including various tasks such as reading in pajamas, reading with parents, reading the newspaper and more, with the top class earning a hot cocoa reward; and crayons are even being incorporated in the school’s food drive through color-coded boxes.

Students log their pages each morning, and the crayon meters in the lobby are updated.

Librarian Julie Richey helped secure Daywalt’s visit, along with other presenters, including an illustrator and singer-songwriter, for Young Authors Week from April 30 to May 4.

The presenters will meet with students in small groups and talk about their backgrounds and professions.