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Local students give the gift of reading

Program will help to donate books to Schoharie schools

Local resident Carol Kurto shows the sutdents of Saratoga Independent School a presentation about the devestation in Schoharie County from Tropical Storm Irene.

Local resident Carol Kurto shows the sutdents of Saratoga Independent School a presentation about the devestation in Schoharie County from Tropical Storm Irene.

— Through the power of reading, some local students are choosing to help their peers after Tropical Storm Irene caused many to lose all that’s familiar to them.

This year, the Saratoga Independent School is partnering with the Schoharie County School District to provide books to students through the Independent School’s local Reach Out and Read program. Each year, the money raised through the program is donated to a local cause to purchase additional books for children in need.

“It is important that children understand that they can make a difference in the lives of others,” said Felice Karlitz, director of education for SIS. “They know that while they are improving their own reading, they are enriching reading opportunities for other children.”

For the past 10 years, books have been donated to local organizations for children through the school’s ROAR program. The purpose of the program is to inspire students to set a reading goal for each school year and achieve it.

At the beginning of each new school year, students at the Independent School are asked to set a page goal for how much they will read by the end of the year. For every two pages read, 1 cent is earned for the ROAR fund through pledges from parents, relatives and community members.

On Fridays, teachers record the number of pages read by each student for the week. This year’s goal for the school, which has about 50 students from kindergarten to 6th grade, is 100,000 pages.

“We do the calculations each week and set the goal higher depending on the rate they’re reading,” said Karlitz. “Last year’s goal was also 100,000 pages but we ended up with 165,000 pages read.”

On average, the school raises between $500 and $700 each year. All of the money goes towards purchasing books. The school also uses the points earned through the Scholastic book fairs to provided additional books to the cause picked by the students, instead of keeping the reading for themselves.

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