Scarborough Middle School students were excited to read books that they had picked out for themselves on Nov. 15 during the school’s “Read-A-Thon” day. Catherine Bart photo

SCARBOROUGH — While classes still met at Scarborough Middle School on Nov. 15, the students had a bit of a change in the agenda, as they were encouraged to spend their class periods reading for fun.

Principal Diane Nadeau said that the middle school’s “Read-A-Thon” day kicked off a greater promotion of independent reading, and it was also the school’s only fundraiser.

Scarborough Middle School wanted to promote reading for fun, said Nadeau. While students read assigned books at school, independent reading is lifelong.

The organizers of the event created a bingo card for students to fill out, encouraging students to pick books in genres they may not have thought to try out before, said Nadeau.

Throughout the day, each class had students with their noses in books, reading to themselves.

“It’s really just reading for pleasure because we want to promote that,” Nadeau said. “That doesn’t necessarily have to be a novel. It can be informational text, a magazine. It could be something online. Reading happens in lots of directions and lots of ways.”

While the “Read-A-Thon” was happening on that Friday, students had been rewarded for reading throughout the entire week, Nadeau said.

“Every day this week kids have been earning coupons if they have been caught reading and putting those coupons in raffles,” she said. “Every day names have been drawn to win the raffle. That’s really tied into the book fair we’re having in our learning commons. So we’ve really tried to have this whole week be focused on building up to today.”

Karen Rand, a seventh-grade social studies and language arts teacher, said that students who donated did receive raffle coupons.

Rand’s students said that the money raised will go towards the eighth-graders’ annual field trip.

They enjoyed getting a chance to read books that they had picked, students said, because usually, there isn’t much time to read for fun at school, and many students have extracurricular activities that give them less time.

Students were also having a pajama day, which made the entire event a bit cozier, Nadeau said.

“They can feel like how anyone does when they want to be reading, kind of cozy and comfortable,” she said.

The fundraising component of the event was more secondary to the promotion of independent reading, Nadeau said.

The “Read-A-Thon” allowed the students to read across the curriculum, Rand said, in classes like math and science, where novels typically aren’t opened.

In another classroom, students were reading beside a simulated fire, on a projected screen, which gave everyone the feeling of warmth, said French teacher Robin Viola.

“I was cold, and I’ve been cold all day,” she said. “I just pulled this up.”

Besides the reading, there was a scavenger hunt, too, said Rand.

Six different types of bookmarks were scattered around the school, which students were collecting during the school’s study hall period, she said.

The types of books that students in Rand’s class were reading included graphic novels, realistic fiction, horror and fantasy.

The school’s book fair, which was held during the same week, was another way the school worked to promote the “Read-A-Thon” event, Nadeau said, especially when parents went in and out of the school.

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