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Reading program has links kids to miles of books

by Leisl Scheupbach

   As the Holidays approach school children push class lessons out of their minds and focus on the excitement of Christmas break. After the long Holiday vacation young students forget skills they were recently taught and the New Year is started off by re-learning dulled reading and spelling skills.
   To address this problem Ochoco Elementary reading teacher Mike Claflin initiated an exciting program to keep kids reading over the holiday break. Extending over the two weeks of Christmas break all Ochoco students were encouraged to read a book and create a paper chain link.
   The students were given the challenge to read as much as they could and total their links together. Students were given 24 paper links before leaving for vacation, the title of each book read was written on a paper link. The books could be read by the individual or read to them by a family member.
   As more books were read over the Holiday break more links were formed for the chain. When students returned to school on January seventh, the links from each student were collected and connected to form the chain.
   After final completion of the chain on January 11 the paper-link chain was tacked up along the hallway for display. Reaching a total of 1,436 links the chain spanned down halls and along the entire front side of the school building.
   "I was quite impressed to see how much reading they had done" said Claflin enthusiastically. "The kids were amazed to see how much they could do when they worked together."
   The reading chain was geared to keep kid's reading and spelling skills sharp over the long break as well as well as provide a student community project. Students encouraged each other to read more and they worked together to construct the nearly quarter-mile long chain.
   Many students completed all 24 links, reading at least one book a day. "I think the students put forth a great deal of effort. I'm pleased with how supportive parents and family were when it came to helping their kids complete the reading project." explained Claflin."There is so much value in reading and this project kept students sharp on their skills."
   Ochoco Elementary reading teachers plan to continue the reading chain project over future school breaks and may initiate a challenge to make an even longer chain next Christmas.