By Sarah Hogsed
Register Staff Report
A project at Mayfield Elementary School has received recognition across state lines from a woman who found a balloon released in celebration of one classroom having read more than 1,000 books.
Second-grade teacher Wanda Wilson started the school year by challenging her 22 students to read a total of 1,000 books by the end of the school year.
This week, the final week of school, the grand total for the classroom was 1,373 books read.
Using other programs as incentives, like Book It and Accelerated Reader, the children were expected to turn in book reports every week on what they read, according to Wilson.
Displays outside her classroom visually demonstrated students’ progress.
“Each month we graphed what they read,” Wilson said.
As they continued to make progress, the children celebrated at the end of each month with ice cream, pizza, popcorn or a movie.
Wilson made sure books the children read were tailored to their reading level, and throughout the year their reading comprehension levels rose, she said.
As part of the Read Across America event, Madison County central office staffer Linda Brumagen read to Wilson’s second-graders. She works in the special education department.
Brumagen told Wilson to let her know when the children reached their goal of 1,000 books.
Last month, when the children hit their goal, a celebration with cake and punch was planned. But Brumagen surprised Wilson with a special visitor.
“The surprise for me was the mayor coming,” Wilson said.
Richmond Mayor Jim Barnes presented Wilson with a key to the city.
The children were thrilled at the honor their teacher received, and they kept asking, “Ms. Wilson, can you get into my house now?” The teacher said with a laugh.
During the celebration, the second-graders released balloons with a piece of paper inside with their name, the school’s name and how many books they had read.
Earlier this month, one student got a letter from a Virginian who found her balloon. The woman congratulated Emily and her classmates on their achievement, and told her the balloon had traveled nearly 400 miles.
Eight-year-old Emily said she was “excited” that her balloon had been found.
“I never thought it would go that far,” she said.
Sarah Hogsed can be reached at email@example.com or 624-6694.
Va. woman who found balloon sends letter to second-grader
May 8, 2013
To whom it may concern,
My name is Brenda Foley. I live at 957 Stilla Road, Patrick Springs, VA
I found a balloon in my yard from a little girl in the second grade.
Her name is Emily.
I wanted to tell her “congratulations” for reading 47 books and to the
school for reaching their goal of reading over 1,000 books. Good job.
That balloon traveled a long way. Tell her to keep up the good work.
If you drive it from my house to the school, it’s about 387.8 miles.