Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

School is out but reading is in for Fox Hollow students

Fifth-grader Skiela Morales, right, accepts her certificate from Fox Hollow Elementary principal Lisa Miller for reading all 15 titles on the Sunshine State Young Readers book list.


Fifth-grader Skiela Morales, right, accepts her certificate from Fox Hollow Elementary principal Lisa Miller for reading all 15 titles on the Sunshine State Young Readers book list.

PORT RICHEY — School's out, but hitting the books is still on the agenda for many Fox Hollow Elementary students.

Some plan to curl up with a book while lounging at home or traveling on that summer road trip. Others are headed to the local library to check out a title on the Sunshine State Young Readers list, a literary lineup that has been released annually since 1983 for kids in grades 3-5 and 6-8.

Fox Hollow students had been asking for that list for weeks before classes ended, said principal Lisa Miller.

"It's the most popular list in the school," she said.

There's some good incentive for those who read all 15 titles.

Like all schools enrolled in the Sunshine State Young Readers program, students have the chance to vote for their favorite read or land a spot on a book battle team that competes on the school, district and state level.

But at Fox Hollow, students also have the opportunity to have their name permanently emblazoned on one of the gold stars recently painted on the school's Reader's Walk of Fame. That paved path leads to the school's Literacy Garden that was recently planted with brightly colored flowers and dedicated in memory of the school's beloved literacy coach, Shawna Masterson, who was killed in a car accident in February.

No doubt, many students would want to make Masterson — a very upbeat "always for the underdog" kind of teacher — proud, Miller said.

Add to that the end-of-year readers' gala for those who finish all 15 books, complete with balloons, tasty treats and an appearance of sorts by a children's author whose book made that year's list.

And there's a record to beat — or at least meet.

This past school year, 40 Fox Hollow students read all 15 books, earning a special certificate, a gold star and a chance to chat with Jacqueline Davis, author of The Lemonade War, via the Skype Internet communication program.

That's a big jump from the 15 students who finished all the books during the previous school year.

It was a team effort," said fourth-grade teacher Aaron Locken, who, along with resource teacher Maria Smith, coordinated a before- and after-school student book club to help motivate students.

"The kids did all the reading at home. Then we had the book clubs at school," Locken said. "We had lots of good talks, not only about the books, but all sorts of things."

"It was cool," said Amanda Berrios, who ranked Found as her favorite. "You can actually talk to other people who read the book. Everybody shares what they like about the book."

"Last year I didn't read any books, but the book club inspired me," said Alexis Harris, 11. "Mr. Locken gave us a goal to read all 15 books. We got together and talked about the books. It was a fun experience. We set a goal and made it."

"It was the most wonderful thing, seeing all these kids coming down the sidewalk in the morning and talking about the book," said fifth-grade teacher Susan Jenkins. "All these literacy connections we wanted them to make, they were making."

While 40 students finished all 15 books, about 100 students participated in the book club on a regular basis, Smith said. "So a lot of these kids who are not readers by nature read six books, seven books, 12 books. That surpassed anything I could have imagined."

Even Damien Perez, who was ready to throw in the towel, managed to plug his way through all 15.

"I didn't think I was going to be able to finish," said Damien, 11. "But I just wanted to come here and get my name on a star."

Reach Michele Miller at or at (727) 869-6251.


Great books available for all students

• Youth Summer Reading Programs have already begun at local libraries. For information on programs held at Pasco County branches, go to For information about the New Port Richey Public Library summer program, go to

• For information on the Sunshine State Young Readers Program, go to

Sunshine State Young Readers List

1. The Seer of Shadows by Avi.

2. Cicada Summer by Andrea Beaty.

3. Masterpiece by Elise Broach.

4. Obi, Gerbil on the Loose by M.C. Delaney.

5. Kenny and the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi.

6. The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman.

7. The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester.

8. Eleven by Patricia Reilly Giff.

9. Bird Lake Moon by Kevin Henkes.

10. Piper Reed: Navy Brat by Kimberly Willis Holt.

11. Safe at Home (Comeback Kids) by Mike Lupica.

12. 11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass.

13. Mogo, the Third Warthog by Lita Judge.

14. Someone Named Eva by Joan M. Wolf.

15. The 15th book varies by grade level. For students in grades 3-5, it's 1906 by Laurence Yep. For grades 6-8, it's The Earth Dragon Awakes: The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 by Laurence Yep.

School is out but reading is in for Fox Hollow students 06/11/10 [Last modified: Friday, June 11, 2010 10:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Half of Florida lawmakers fail or nearly fail review of support for public records

    State Roundup

    WEST PALM BEACH — Half of Florida's legislators failed or nearly failed in a review of their support for public records and meetings given by Florida newspapers and an open-government group after this year's legislative sessions.

    State Senator Bill Galvano, R- Bradenton (left) and Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran ranked on opposite sides of the spectrum in an analysis of support for open records. Galvano scored a B-minus and Corcoran scored a D-plus.
[Times file photo]
  2. Yale dean on leave over offensive Yelp reviews leaves post

    Bizarre News

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A Yale University dean who was placed on leave over offensive reviews she posted on Yelp has left her position at the Ivy League institution, school officials said Tuesday.

  3. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park


    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  4. The people you meet along O.J. Howard Lane


    OJ Howard (far right) is seen in a photo from his adolescent years at Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church in Prattville, Ala., on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Howard served as an usher in addition to attending regular services at this church.