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First-grader Joins Band of Reading Champs


Being able to read books scores big points with Claire Greenwood.

“My mom gets them for me at the library,” she said. “I read them in my bed at night, until 8:30.”

The Alto Elementary first-grader’s love of the written word (Beverly Cleary and Roald Dahl works being her faves) has earned her a few points of her own. A hundred points, in fact — and counting.

Claire is the first in her grade to be inducted into the school’s 100 Point Club, an exclusive band of bookish boys and girls who reach that height by doing what many of them already love.

Claire Greenwood

“She’s a voracious reader who comes from a family of readers,” said Claire’s teacher, Diane Masters. “She was already reading at a third-grade level at the beginning of the year and she’s at least a fourth-grade level now.”

Teacher Carla Wobma started the 100 Point Club last year — her first at Alto — as an incentive to get students reading, and 120 students in kindergarten through fifth grade were inducted last year.

Students read fiction and nonfiction books that have been designated to be worth a certain number of points via the accelerated reader program. When they finish, they take a test online that measures their understanding of what they have read. They must score at least 80 percent for the points to be counted.

Claire and her fellow club members enjoy perks such as a T-shirt, and access to exclusive gatherings such as pizza parties and ice cream socials. Bulletin boards line hallways that highlight students who have achieved a certain level on their way to the big 100.

And it just keeps going from there. Fifth-grader William Kolp has more than 700 points.

“All the prizes and perks are just ways to get them motivated,” Wobma said, “but the whole point is that they really develop a love of reading out of this. It’s that journey that has been the most exciting.”

Wobma said the school’s reading hours jumped by 12,000 last year, which officials attribute to the 100 Point Club. That number is on track to be exceeded this year.

Book checkouts also are up by 200 percent, and students have amassed more than 20,000 accelerated reader points so far.

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Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a reporter and copy editor, covering East Grand Rapids, Forest Hills and Northview. She is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio

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