Summer reading total: 4,647

FAIRMONT – Fairmont Elementary Principal Jim Davison had his tent and sleeping bag ready to go, but when the results came in, his overnight trip wasn’t to be.

Davison promised the 900 students in grades K-6 that he would spend the night on the roof of the elementary if the kids read 10,000 over the summer. But they didn’t make their goal.

The stats revealed the students read 4,647 books in about 90 days.

While Davison won’t be camping out, he did acknowledge the students read a lot of books.

“I was surprised,” he said. “I really thought they would make it. But it is a big step up from what they read last summer.”

The summer reading challenge is the school’s attempt to curb what is known as the summer reading slide. According to studies, children who do not read over the summer will lose more than two months of reading skills. Summer reading loss is cumulative, so by the end of sixth grade, children who lose reading skills over the summer could be two years behind their classmates.

Davison said the administration came up with the idea to send him to the roof after realizing many of the students weren’t reading during the break.

With 900 students, each child would have had to read about 12 books to reach a goal of 10,000, or about one book per week over the summer.

One student took the challenge and went above and beyond that goal. Norah Traetow read the most books of any student during the summer, a total of 246.

She seemed surprised anyone thought that was a lot of books.

“I have tons of books at home,” she said. “And I got some of them from the library.”

Her mom, Michelle, and her dad, Andy, both teachers in the district, help their daughter read.

“That is our normal routine,” Michelle said. “We read every night. With two teachers, it is emphasized in our home.”

Norah wasn’t disappointed Davison wouldn’t be sleeping on the roof.

“I don’t really care,” she said. “I read because it is fun.”

She and the other top readers in the contest earned a certificate and Chamber bucks to reward their accomplishment.

Fairmont Elementary is emphasizing rewarding students this school year, with three new monthly awards to be distributed.

Students will be awarded for perfect attendance and for not having any office referrals. The grade level with the smallest percentage of referrals and best attendance will be rewarded with a local adventure.

The decision to emphasize attendance falls in line with the entire district’s focus.

“Being here is important,” Davison said. “It is hard for us to teach you if you are not in the building.”