YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


18 Schools Get Bookish Enough to Earn $5,000

Education: The students read 17 million pages in six months after Gov. Davis issued a challenge last fall.


Whenever the teachers turned around, their students were at it again. They weren't goofing off or playing. They weren't even talking. They were reading. And they were reading a lot.

Dr. Seuss during recess. Harry Potter at lunch. Judy Blume after school. And on Wednesday, educators at 18 Ventura County schools learned all that effort has paid off.

Those campuses are among 400 schools statewide that will receive $5,000 grants for reading, Gov. Gray Davis announced. During a six-month period, students at the local schools read 17 million pages.

Last fall, Davis challenged students to read more pages than they ever had before as part of his package of education reforms. As a result, more than 400,000 schoolchildren from 51 counties read more than 685 million pages. This is the first year schools are being rewarded financially for that initiative.

In Ventura County, schools held family reading nights, literacy rallies and book fairs and they kept track of every page the students read. At some schools, the principals made unusual promises if the students reached their goal.

"I told the kids I'd get up on the roof in my pajamas if we did well," said Sue Eastman, principal of Camarillo Heights Elementary School, where students read 1 1/2 million pages. "So I guess that's what I'm going to do."

Eastman said her students and teachers were enthusiastic. They sponsored a reading rally in October, held a book exchange, invited volunteers into the classroom to read and challenged students to pick up a book for 20 minutes every night.

Linda Moore, who teaches English at Colina Middle School in Thousand Oaks, said the students and staff at her campus spent part of Wednesday celebrating the win. Students there read more than 2 million pages.

"Reading has been a stepsister in the state for so many years," Moore said. "So having students and teachers rewarded for reading is great."

The other winning schools are: Las Posas Elementary, Tierra Linda Elementary and Los Primeros Structured Elementary in Camarillo; Glenwood Elementary and Lang Ranch Elementary in Thousand Oaks; Ocean View Junior High, Frank Intermediate and Haydock Intermediate in Oxnard; Montalvo Elementary, Saticoy Elementary and Pierpont Elementary in Ventura; Mupu Elementary in Santa Paula; Oak Hills Elementary in Oak Park; San Cayetano Elementary in Fillmore; Santa Susana Elementary in Simi Valley; and Somis Elementary.

Committees of students, parents and teachers at each school will decide how to spend the money. Next year, the governor plans to distribute the grants to 800 California schools.

Los Angeles Times Articles