Washington Elementary School’s Reading Incentive Program Is Receiving High Marks
What started out as a way to motivate first-grade students to read has grown into a school-wide Reading Incentive Program at MUSD’S Washington Elementary School.
Instructor Lili Atoyan developed the program for her first-grade class and after many years of success, Principal Cynthia Herrera encouraged Atoyan to include all of the first-grade classes in the program three years ago and then asked her to expand it school-wide this scholastic year.
Today, the Reading Incentive Program operates with a strong base of parent and high school volunteers, including students enrolled in a sociology class from nearby Montebello High School.
Book credits are given to students based on the number of pages in a book when they are able to effectively summarize the events in a story, explains Atoyan, who oversees the program as a teacher on special assignment. One credit is given for each increment of 25 pages. Students earn a T-shirt and school-wide recognition during an awards assembly when they earn 50 book credits. At the end of the year, students are presented certificates indicating the total number of book credits they have earned during an assembly.
Montebello High School students from instructor Tony Richards’ sociology classes walk to Washington Elementary once a week to volunteer in the classrooms. Richards became aware of the program four years ago when his daughter was in Atoyan’s first grade class. He saw an opportunity for his Human Services Career Academy students to interact with and gain experience in working with children.
The students were trained to work with individual students and to ask questions about the books that students have read.
Parent volunteers are also involved in the Reading Incentive Program. Atoyan trains a group of hard-working parents at the outset of the school year and assigns them to classrooms.