Harloe Elementary School kids turn books into bucks

Grumble all you want about the state of education today, but don’t do it near Harloe Elementary School.

The kids at the Arroyo Grande school read more than a million pages during their six-week read-a-thon, raising $15,841 in the process. The read-a-thon ended March 10, and the school has just released results.

The page total last year was 610,000.

The Harloe read-a-thon hopes to inspire kids to read, both in the class and at home, according to Ryan Foran, school and community communications specialist for the Lucia Mar Unified School District.

Children also worked to persuade individuals and businesses to pledge money.

Youngsters who pore over their books more fervently than others can earn prizes.

Individual standouts, according to Foran:

Most pages read: 15,021 by Zoe Curran, a fourth- grader;

Most pledges raised: $681.11 by Jackson Uhran, a fourth-grader;

Most classroom pages read: 98,828 by Judy Darway’s class;

Top Sponsors: Altrusa International, Elks Club No. 2504, 5 Cities Optimist Club, Marshall-Spoo Chapel, WalMart, Chili’s, McDonalds, The Quarterdeck Restaurant, and A to Z Books.

Foran said that Colleen Uhran, the parent volunteer who organized the Read-a-Thon, reported that “students loved the opportunity to win prizes by reading. This motivated them to read more each day.”

Parents were thrilled, according to Uhran, and some parents reported that their children were choosing a book over their Nintendo DS video game.

Teachers observed that as their students read more, their confidence in reading skyrocketed, Foran wrote in a news release.

Foran wrote that Darway told him that “as students read more, they tired of the same books, which pushed them to try new and more challenging books.”

The school library became a more popular place to hang out, and students started asking both their teachers and the school librarian for suggestions of books to read. Kids shared book recommendations in class.