Students take reading challenge
Hubbard Woods School third graders Teddy Ross (left) and James Gardella read a book called "Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!" during the picture book reading program at the school library December 12, 2012. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 21, 2013 6:08AM
WINNETKA — Tucked in the corner of the Hubbard Wood School library, Kate Jaworski and her sons, second-grader Jack and 4-year-old Jonathan, began reading together and enjoyed some after-school popcorn.
In front of them lay a stack of picture books, including ‘My Friend is Sad’ by Mo Williams and two Dr. Seuss classics, ‘The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins’ and ‘Horton Hatches an Egg.’
The family was attending the second of three picture book parties this month while the Hubbard Woods reading challenge remains in full swing.
“It’s a wonderful event, and I love that they opened it up to all the siblings,” Kate said with Jonathan sitting on her lap.
In recognition of National Picture Book Month, which was in November, Hubbard Woods Resource Center Director Todd Burleson challenged students to a challenge to his students: read all 2,700 picture books in the school’s library before winter break.
“We wanted to help read all the books and we’re here reading and having fun,” Jack said. “I was thinking (of reading) a total of eight.”
Burleson has noticed a trend in recent years of rushing children to chapter books, but he feels picture books still play a vital role in their education.
“I think (picture books) are very mature,” Burleson said. “I think they give kids the opportunity to delve into an idea or time period anywhere in the world.”
For an average December, the Hubbard Woods library checks out 80 picture books. During the first week of the challenge students read 602 books, which were piled high on a book shelf.
Halfway through the second week of the challenge Burleson said they are on pace to double their week one output, but added, “every book we read that we didn’t before is a triumph.”
Encouraging parents and siblings to help the students achieve their goal has been a huge hit with the families invited to participate.
“The goal is so fantastic,” said Georgie Geraghty, who was sitting with her children, third grader Gertie and three year-old Ned. “As a parent I love the motivation for reading. It’s not just an in-school project, but one involving the community.”
To meet the challenge, students have spent their lunch periods and downtime reading all around the school, but spending time with their parents in the library was something they enjoyed as well.
“I like reading picture books and different kinds of stories,” Gertie said. “I like spending time with my family and I wanted to read with my mom.”