SDES Sports and Reading Club

SDES Sports and Reading Club Encouraging Students to Love Reading and Athletics
Posted on 02/03/2023
Reading is a vital skill for all students to be successful in school, and South Douglas Elementary School is working to help students develop a love of reading and physical activity through its Sports and Reading Club. 

The idea for the club began last school year when SDES started a book crew that met weekly and joined a kickball league. Many students joined one activity or the other, Thomas Bruno said, so he decided to begin a club that aimed to build excitement about books with students of various reading levels.

“The aim was to build excitement about books with sports stars, who are often reluctant readers. At the same time, we also wanted to encourage book lovers to be more physically active,” said Bruno, the club's sponsor. “Also, time is very limited for kids to read for fun in their regular class periods. Our students have loved getting to read the sports-related books that we’ve acquired through grants and other funding.”

The club recruits fourth graders specifically who have an interest in sports but may be reluctant readers. It also recruits students who may excel in reading but are hesitant to participate in organized sports. 

The club started with 15 members, but now they have over 30 students who attend each meeting. Each meeting consists of students reading for half of the meeting and then taking the other half to play sports like basketball, kickball, flag football or wiffle ball. 

Members are also required to earn at least 10 accelerated reader points each month, and Bruno and other teachers are already seeing the benefits of having students participate in the club. 

“Physical activity positively impacts our kids’ excitement and capacity for learning and reading. Also, reluctant readers are motivated when presented with high-interest books. In my experience, hesitant readers are interested in nonfiction topics such as sports and history,” said Bruno.

Because of the club’s success at helping to create strong readers, it has already begun seeking ways to expand the club to other students in the school. Earlier this year, the school held a kickball tournament, which saw over 100 students participate, to purchase new books. Because of the great participation and interest from many students, Bruno plans to open the club to fifth graders in the 2023-2024 school year. 

“Reading levels have increased on the STAR and all of the kids in the crew meet their accelerated reader goals each time,” said Bruno. “Also, this club is the first opportunity for many of the kids to participate in organized sports. It’s been so much fun for all of them.”
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