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Reading brings Loomis Grammar national acclaim

School wins national award
By: Toni Arnes, Loomis News Correspondent
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Loomis Grammar School has been recognized as a state leader when it comes to reading.

On April 19, representatives of Loomis Grammar School will be presented with the California Exemplary Reading Program Award as a result of the school's language arts and literacy program. The ceremony, which takes place in San Antonio, Texas, and is hosted by the International Reading Association, which bestows the honor to one K-12 school in each state.

"We are delighted," said school principal Rick Judd. "Our school is becoming a model for the state in the area of literacy and instruction for language arts."

Known as the Daily 5, the reading program that’s aided Loomis Grammar in gaining national recognition was adopted by the school three years ago and is structured to help students develop the daily habits of reading, writing and working independently. 

The school still maintains the state and district standards for the language arts curriculum, but restructures the program so that students choose to either read to themselves, work on writing, word work, listen to reading or read to someone. During these independent learning times, teachers work with individuals and small groups.

When speaking on the reading program, Amy Nash, a Title 1 teacher at Loomis Grammar said, "The culture has changed. We are tailoring reading instruction to exactly what the students need."

Last year, students and staff of Loomis Grammar School collectively read 17, 961 books while Judd underwent cancer treatment. The goal was to get everyone excited about reading. This year, to encourage continued learning, administrators and parents have created a reading incentive.

The 40 Book Challenge is designed to get the students to "the next level" by focusing on depth, said Nash. Prizes are not given for this challenge, but students are recognized and their progress is shared in the main office of the school. The challenge also helps reluctant readers.

"The challenge gives them the power to read what they are interested in, but encourages them to read from other genres," said Crystal Call, a sixth-grade language arts and social studies teacher. "Kids blossom by joining the challenge."

Fourth grader Logan Dandini is reading a series of biographies. He recently completed a book about Steve Jobs and shared that he learned Jobs was the creator of Apple, but not the inventor of computers. He has read 10 books since September and plans to read several books during spring break.

Logan's mother, Katy, said he struggled with reading before, but the challenge has exposed him to books he would never have chosen before. She said it has also helped with his vocabulary. She believes that being an avid reader provides an advantage in life.

Students are not limited to reading only 40 books. Taylor Kemis, a sixth grader, has read 93 books so far. Her goal is 120 by the end of the school year.

The challenge has 100 percent participation.