Pages for Prizes

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Len­noxville

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.

photo Vic­to­ria Vanier

$ 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.

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