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Reading reward: 150 Heard-Mixon students exceed accelerated reading goals

Conner Nasworthy and Dayshaun Ross work their way across the slippy pipe, trying their best to stay on. They managed to succeed this time around.

Conner Nasworthy and Dayshaun Ross work their way across the slippy pipe, trying their best to stay on. They managed to succeed this time around.

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:Erika Wilson and Piper McGinnis, both first grade students in Priscilla Turner's class at Heard-Mixon, enjoy the Slip N' Slide at the FFA-FCCLA Center. Newton County Fire Service supplied the water. Staff Photos: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith

COVINGTON — Students at Heard-Mixon Elementary School who exceeded their accelerated reading goals got a big reward Tuesday.

The FFA-FCCLA Center gave 150 first- through fifth-grade students access to the center’s 250-foot Slip ’n Slide. This is the fourth year the center has hosted the students, who also had fun trying to make their way across a slippery pole and playing with sponge balls.

The event is used as a motivational reward for students who exceed accelerated reading goals for the last quarter of the school year, earning 150 percent of recommended points, according to Media Specialist Sandy Moseley.

The accelerated reading program allows students to read based on their comprehension levels. Students are evaluated based on a comprehension test given each quarter and are individually given goals to strive for during that quarter, Moseley said. Books in Heard-Mixon’s library are labeled according to reading levels for convenience and students are encouraged to choose books on their levels and read them at home and in class. Once they have completed a book, students take a quiz to test their comprehension of what they’ve read, and earn points based on their scores. Each quarter, students are given point goals based on their individual capabilities “so everybody can feel successful, no matter at what level they read,” Moseley said.

Students have a chance to increase their reading levels throughout the year, she said. By the end of the year, most students have increased their levels by an entire grade, she said.

Each quarter, students are offered rewards for meeting their reading goals. For example, in October, they can come to the media center for s’mores and stories and in January they have media game day, and they enjoy frozen yogurt sundaes in March. In May is the big reward, the FFA Splash Down, featuring the Slip ’n Slide, for students who have exceeded goals. Moseley said Yolonda Watterson, a fourth-grade language arts teacher, plans the event.

Moseley said the rewards provide great motivation for students, “especially the ones who hear about it from their friends, if they didn’t get to go this year, when their friends come back from participating in these rewards and they’re so excited and they share how fun it is. They try to help each other meet their goals,” she said.

Some students come to the media center as often as four times a day, before and after school, to try to meet or exceed their goals, she said.