Kids take first place in summer reading challenge - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Kids take first place in summer reading challenge

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Chippewa Falls (WQOW) - Flipping pages leads area students to capture first place.

Kids at Hillcrest Elementary in Chippewa Falls won top honors by in the state for a reading challenge.

"Reading is my favorite thing to do, whenever I have free time I read," says 3rd grade student Eva Bushman.

But not all kids are as enthusiastic about a good book so a 4th grade teacher at Hillcrest Elementary found the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge and presented it to her students.

"I checked it out and it sounded pretty cool so I signed my kids up right away and then spread the word to my other 4th grade teachers and the other teachers in the building," says 4th grade teacher Katie Nelson.

Then it was only a matter of getting the kids excited about the opportunity.

"Anytime you can get their peers excited and get them promoting it, I think that has so much more of an effect on them then it does coming from someone like an adult," says Nelson.

So teachers turned to their students for ideas.

"They actually brainstormed and came up with a ton of ideas on how we could promote it school wide," says Nelson.

"We made a video to encourage the whole school and we played it on the morning news for the school.  We made bookmarks for the whole school," says 5th grade student Ethan Trowbridge.

"I heard about it from my older brother Jackson, he's in 5th grade this year and he was in Ms. Nelson's class last year so his class got it started," says Bushman.

Once all the kindergarten through fifth grade kids had signed up it was off to the reading races to see how many pages they could turn and minutes they could log between May and September.

"Every school in the United States and other places were competing in the reading challenge," says Trowbridge.

"I didn't really have time to read them, but when I was traveling to my sports games and stuff I read them on the way up and it was really interesting," says 4th grade student Sophie Koehler.

"My brother has a ton of books in his bookshelf so I read a bunch of his books," says 4th grade student Bryer Niblett.

"I just read and I really liked it because I don't usually read and it gives me a really big challenge to read a lot," says 2nd grade student Mykle Buhrow.

A challenge they met with a mountain of minutes.

To give you an idea, there are 525,600 minutes in a year and the Hillcrest kids shattered that in three months racking up more than 687,000 minutes.

"It was a big opportunity for Hillcrest and I just thought we could do it," says Trowbridge.

Placing the school 55th in the world and first in Wisconsin.

"Everyone in our school was able to contribute to the large number that we had overall for our minutes," says Nelson.

A lesson that's led to a novel habit at Hillcrest.

"I want to see how many adventures my mind can go through by reading stories," says Koehler.

Teachers say the benefits of the reading challenge really showed in the classroom when students returned this fall.

Hillcrest students will be receiving a plaque for their outstanding reading achievement.

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