Speed Read: Reading Contest No Bedtime Story - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Speed Read: Reading Contest No Bedtime Story


Eau Claire (WQOW) - Speed reading goes into overdrive to help a local organization raise money. 

First Book is a program that promotes reading by providing children from low-income families with books.  On Sunday, the local chapter of the First Book held a speed read to raise money for new books.

Here's how it works, readers collect pledges and see how many words they can read in 15 seconds.  The set-up is similar to that of the Polar Plunge.  That money is then used to by new books for children of low-income families.

"I think the statistic is something like for every kid in a low-income family has one book, in a middle-class family there's ten books," says Susie Schuelke, director of First Book-UWEC.  "So, they'll typically get their books from libraries so it's just really exciting for them to take the book home and keep it."

‘Chicka Chicka Boom Boom' was the book organizers picked because of its familiarity amongst readers and the challenge.

"I read the book in front of my family, I timed it and I think they're getting a little sick of hearing ‘Skit, scat, scoodle doot, flip flap flee,' but they're getting used to it," says Julie Majkowski, a librarian at Locus Lane and participant in the speed read.

Officer Art Nelson with the Eau Claire Police Department took a different approach.

"I looked at it a couple of times and pretty much we're going into it with that much preparation," says Officer Nelson.

Others wanted to make the book more challenging.

"I've toyed with turning all the monosyllabic into polysyllabic because I teach reading," says Sue McIntyre, a professor at UW-Eau Claire.  "But I think I'm just going to go with the fun of the occasion and read the monosyllabic as they appear in the text, as fast as I can of course.

The most words read in 15 seconds was 116, accomplished by two readers.  In all, 18 readers took a crack at the contest and raising around $1,400.  That will help buy more than 500 books.

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