HINCKLEY – Hinckley-Big Rock Elementary School fourth-grader Evelyn Kandler wasn’t a fan of reading until the school started a reading program that fed her competitive spirit.
Kandler read 195 books this year for the school’s “Royal Readers Hit the Books” reading program, the most of any student.
“It was really fun,” she said. “I hated reading before then. Now I read just for fun.”
The school rewarded the 317 students who participated in the program Tuesday by taking them to a Kane County Cougars baseball game, where the Cougars defeated the Peoria Chiefs, 5-4.
It was Hinckley-Big Rock’s third year holding the reading program and the first time going to a Cougars game.
More students participated this year than any other, said Hinckley-Big Rock Elementary reading specialist Sandy Madden.
“Everyone had to do it,” Madden said.
Each class was required to read a certain number of hours or books, starting in September. As an entire class, kindergartners read 500 hours, while first-graders read 700 hours, second-graders read 1,200 hours and third-graders read 1,300 hours.
Individual fourth-graders read 40 books and each fifth-grader had to write a weekly book report for every book they read.
Second-grader Zach Jude read multiple chapter books. His favorite part of the baseball game was when children were allowed onto the field to play a game in which they raced to collect inner tubes.
“It was hard,” Jude said.
Hinckley-Big Rock students also sang “Take Me Out To the Ballgame” and ran around the bases after the game.
Fourth-grader Vincie Solano read 143 books. He said he likes reading because it teaches him life lessons. One such lesson came from a children’s novel called “Wonder” by PJ Palacio.
“Even if one kid doesn’t look the same, still treat them like other people,” Solano said.
Kindergartener Cody Erd said his favorite part of the baseball game was running around the bases. When asked why he was able to do that, Erd said it was because the whole school read.
“We earned it!” he said.
Reading program statistics
• Students in early childhood though third grade read for a combined 511 days.
• The school’s 59 fourth-graders read 2,982 books.
• The fifth-graders wrote 1,600 book reports.