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Stadalsky: Minooka school is No. 1 in summer reading program

Walnut Trails Elementary School, in Minooka District 201, was the top school in Illinois with the most number of minutes read by their students during the summer.
Walnut Trails Elementary School, in Minooka District 201, was the top school in Illinois with the most number of minutes read by their students during the summer.

Walnut Trails Elementary School, in Minooka District 201, was the top school in Illinois with the most number of minutes read by their students during the summer.

Yes, they were reading books over the summer without them being assigned.

The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge has become a worldwide event. Kids all over the globe are being motivated to read and strengthen their skills as a team, even when they are not in school.

Over the summer, through schools, libraries and community organizations, kids sign up for the program, read books and log online how many minutes they’ve spent reading.

“Children who read over the summer maintain and may improve their literacy skills,” Walnut Trails Principal Kathleen Cheshareck said.

“When kids read over the summer, they are more likely to leap ahead when they return to school. This is often called the “summer leap,” and our school has made it a priority to keep our students’ skills sharp by encouraging them to read all summer long.”

As the top winner in the state, Walnut Trails logged 284,000 minutes from May 8 through Sept. 8. They placed 104th worldwide.

The school is now listed in the 2018 Scholastic Book of World Records.

The school’s top reader, with 14,978 minutes of reading logged over the summer, is third-grade student Mason Vogt. He was the winner of a Kindle Fire for all his hard work.

On Friday, Walnut Trails students celebrated their achievement and newfound fame with a mini-read-a-thon. Each student was allowed to dress up as their own favorite book character.

“We celebrated today with students and teachers dressing as favorite book characters,” Chesharek said. “It was awesome!”

Walnut Trails will receive a banner and plaque from Scholastic to hang in its school. Each of the 400 kids who participated in the Summer Reading Challenge received a certificate for their achievement and participation.

“Everyone at Walnut Trails is honored and excited to be Scholastic’s top school in the state of Illinois,” Chesharek said.

• Kris Stadalsky writes about people and topics in areas southwest of Joliet. Reach her at writestuff56@comcast.net.

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