As if winning a worldwide reading challenge and earning top ranking in a world record book wasn't exciting enough for Brooksville Elementary School students and staff, they decided to up the ante and repeat the feat.
Elementary school students logged in 3,463,452 reading minutes this summer to garner their second straight win in the Scholastic Summer Challenge, beating out schools in 50 states and 25 countries.
The school also topped their logged hours last year by more than 287,000 minutes, and will once again be featured in the latest edition of Scholastic Book of World Records along with the other top 19 schools that participated in the challenge.
Assistant Principal Debbie Shaw said she credits Nancy Lovelock, the school's media specialist, who opened the school library once a week this past summer to allow students to come in to read and log hours.
"This is the first time I've been here, but you can see the commitment from staff at all levels for reading," Shaw said. "And that transfers down to the students' enthusiasm to read. It really does make a difference."
Lia Zneimer, junior publicist for Scholastic, said no school has ever won first place in the summer reading contest two consecutive years — an impressive feat for any school.
She said reading minutes are submitted by students to their school, which uses the "honor system" and trust that students have read as much as they claim. Zneimer added that in the six years of the contest, no problems or concerns have been reported.
The Scholastic reading challenge began in 2006 in an effort to engage more students in reading during the summer. According to Scholastic's website, research showed that children regress in reading and other academic skills while off from school.
Meanwhile, Lovelock said, if anything, the Scholastic competition proves to students that with hard work, anything is possible.
"We shouldn't be underestimated. Here we have a small Title 1 school that despite all that we face, our students rose to the challenge against larger schools across the nation," Lovelock said. "With hard work, anything can happen."