Buffalo Ridge Elementary (BRE)
7075 N. Shoreham Drive
Castle Rock, CO 80108
by Elean Gersack
In late fall, Cheryl Wedge’s second graders participated in a reading program called Catch the Reading Wave. The fluency results, coupled with true reading enjoyment by students, have caused this program to be slated for launch throughout BRE next year.
Jody Robinson, parent of a second grader in Wedge’s class, was introduced to the national program at a school in Alabama last year. She was so impressed that she offered to initiate it in her daughter’s classroom. Soon, with books and t-shirts donated by Stucy Realty, the program came to fruition.
Each of the 18 second-grade students was challenged to read 30 books in eight weeks. Once students accomplished this goal, they were awarded a cool tie-dyed t-shirt. Those that surpassed 30 books became eligible for additional rewards – like a free homework pass (50 books) and lunch with Mrs. Wedge (100 books). According to Wedge, 842 books were read in total during the eight weeks. Two students read more than 100 books each, while the rest averaged between 32 and 55 books. Two chapters or one picture book was equivalent to one book.
Mrs. Wedge and BRE second graders - all decked out in Catch the Reading Wave tie-dyed t-shirts - sit in front of the paper chain wall which documents all of the books read during the eight week program. (photo by Tim Gamble)
According to Wedge, the focus was to build fluency for students – to read like they talk. “The kids could only count books that they had read aloud, so the real success of this event is because the parents supported and listened to their child read at home,” said Wedge. Upon completion of a book, parents made a paper chain and sent it to school with their child. Walls in the class were covered with chains and provided huge motivation to the students.
Initial assessments show that reading fluency increased by 12 to 30 words per minute. In addition, errors decreased by more than half on average. “The kids have written about and will also tell you that they are better readers because of the reading wave,” said Wedge.
BRE Principal, Ally Berggren, is extremely pleased with the results. “I think this is an incredible way to motivate students to read. I love the parental involvement. This practice increases reading fluency and comprehension while building on the home-school connection,” said Berggren.
Wedge’s class simultaneously participated in the Scholastic Classrooms that Care program which recognizes classes that read more than 100 books. Scholastic Books donated 100 books to a low-income classroom on behalf of the class. Wedge’s class is now recognized in the Scholastic Hall of Fame as a class that cares about reading.
BRE parents interested in helping launch Catch the Reading Wave for the 2008 – 2009 school year are encouraged to contact Jody Robinson at Contact by email.