Pages for Prizes
Ata time when the closing of some school libraries in Canada and the United States has been in the news, Alexander Galt High School’s library is lending out more books than ever. In the last year alone students took out almost three thousand more books than the year
before, bringing the school’s total for the 2010-2011 year to 9,207.
Part of the reason for this surge in ‘printed word popularity’ has to be the school’s popular Reading Challenge, now finishing its fourth edition. Students taking the challenge must register their reading in the library, update their reading logs, and rate the books they read. Their ratings are posted in the library where other students can read them. “And I ask the students a lot of questions about the books,” said librarian Judith Munger, who runs the contest. “This year there were one hundred and twenty-eight students in the contest and they read a total of 659,946 pages. There could have been more because some of the students didn’t know that they could register the pages of the books that they read at home, too,” she explained.
The Galt Reading Challenge is well-liked by the students because reading good books is fun, talking about books with others who have read them is fun, competing amicably with your peers or sometimes with yourself is fun, and winning really cool prizes is really fun! During the twelve week long contest there are two weekly prizes given to one boy and one girl, randomly drawn, just for participating in the contest. At the end, every participant receives a nice prize and there are eight grand prize winners: the three top girl readers, the three top boy readers, and two random winners, each of whom receive a bagful of prizes worth over $100.
Danica Lambert, of Rock Forest, read 17,754 pages and was the grand prize participation winner. “My favourite a book was Strange
Angel by Lili St. Crow. In the book when she discovers that her Dad turns into a zombie, and she’s a zombie hunter...” said Danica who didn’t want to give too much of the story away. Andrew Rutherford, who clocked in with 11,459 pages, was really impressed with World
War Z by Max Brooks. “I was surprised how the book showed how the government can cover up events,” said Andrew. André Lallier was the top boy reader with 31,285 pages. “I’d been reading a lot of books and Judith kept telling me to write them down,” said André about how he got involved in the contest. He enjoyed the Eragon series best, reading he calls “purely fictional.”
Natasha Boisjoli, a level 1student from Bishopton, read a total of 25,443 pages. “I love reading so much I just thought why not enter the contest?” explained Natasha who had the second highest number of pages among the girls. North Hatley’s Darius Valevicius is a level 2 student who read 18,738 pages. “I really liked The
Last Apprentice series; it was historical, medieval and had superstitions. I joined the contest because I just like reading and if there’s a prize at the end, all the better!” said Darius.
It didn’t take level 2 student Kate Richardson, from Stanstead, too long to read her 21,183 pages. “Judith suggested that I enter the contest because I can read four hundred pages in two days!” commented Kate who enjoys science fiction. Jessica Houle, from Dixville, was the top girl reader for the second time since the contest began. When she first won in 2008 it was with 12,186 pages, but the competition is steeper these days and she had to log in 31,050 pages this time for the win. “I really liked the Hex Hall series but it’s hard to decide a favourite. I also liked the Strange
Angel series and I reread the Host series. The second time it was just as good,” said Jessica. When asked why she has participated in the contest every year since it began, she answered: “I really like reading books and the prizes are really great. I like reading so it’s hardly a challenge!”
Main sponsors of the Reading Challenge are the Sherbrooke Rotary Club, the Brome Lake Bookstore and Spoutnik.
$ a Galt’s Reading Challenge winners posing with their gift bags and favourite books are (front l. to r.) Darius Valevicius, Natasha Boisjoli, Danica Lambert, Jessica Houle and (back l. to r.) Kate Richardson, André Lallier and Andrew Rutherford.