BROOKSVILLE — Brooksville Elementary School is No. 1!
Its students logged 3,176,409 minutes of reading time over the summer, out of a nationwide total of 64,213,141 minutes, making it the top-ranked school in the United States in the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge.
Scholastic is a children's books publishing company, based in New York, well known in schools for its book fairs. The Summer Reading Challenge is part of the company's mission to motivate children to read.
At Brooksville Elementary just about everyone was part of the challenge, which ran from May 1 to Aug. 31.
"We had roughly 845 students," librarian/media specialist Nancy Lovelock said. "We registered everyone."
The children were taught how to go to the company's website, log on and register their minutes. The school's Parent-Teacher Association provided students with folders containing log sheets and their user names and passwords. There was a lot of motivation during the final weeks of school, beginning with practice time in April.
During the summer, the school continued to remind the students to read. Lovelock and media paraprofessional Stephanie Hearn opened the media center once a week on their own time so students could check out books and log in minutes.
"So it was a constant reminder to our program," Lovelock said.
As the winner, Brooksville Elementary will be entered into the Scholastic Book of World Records, 2012 edition. The company is giving each student a red wrist band that says, "Read for the World Record #1 School." It will also provide a winning school banner.
"We're really excited about it," Lovelock said. "It really motivated the kids."
Another Hernando County school also finished in the rankings; Notre Dame Catholic School in Spring Hill finishing 61st after logging 158,109 minutes.
"This was the first year that Notre Dame participated in the challenge," librarian Barbara Williams said. "We are a small school with enrollment around 165 students, but we have a lot of heart. Many of our students in the younger grades did not participate in the challenge."
Williams estimated that between 80 and 90 students participated.
Williams said her students remained motivated through the summer, partly through the efforts of teachers who e-mailed families to remind them to keep reading.
Interestingly, Nancy Lovelock's son, Kyle, is a Notre Dame sixth-grader. He participated in the challenge, but his minutes didn't go to his mother's school. The librarians, though, rooted each other on, Williams said.
Other participating Hernando schools included Parrott Middle School, Spring Hill Elementary and Fox Chapel Middle School.