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California Elementary School Combines Reading Encouragement with Business Writing

A reading project at the Alamos Elementary School in Murrieta, CA isn't just encouraging students to read more - it's also helping them develop business writing skills! Student participants in this program compose letters and send them to businesses to seek donations for a silent auction held at the end of the school year. Students can win prizes for their reading and writing skills!

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By Jessica Lyons

reading

In a letter to Study.com, Sean, a fifth grader at Alamos Elementary School, explained the project. He wrote: 'In my class, we have a great reading program. At the beginning of the year, each student will keep track of his or her own reading pages. So far I got up to 400 pages a week! Pretty amazing. At the end of the year, we have a silent auction with the great donations we have received. Each page counts as one auction point. This is a great program. It really motivated me to read more at home and school.'

In a recent Study.com interview, teacher Teresa Cubbedge explained more about the project and how it's benefitting her students.

Study.com: How did the idea for your reading project come about? How long have you been doing it?

Teresa Cubbedge: One of my colleagues created the program 17 years ago as a way of motivating kids to read more. It started out where the teacher bought items and the students used classroom dollars to 'purchase' them. Then it evolved into kids writing business letters to companies they like and soliciting donations.

Study.com: How does the program work?

TC: Students earn a point for every page they read. They are assigned reading each night for homework and read in the classroom whenever they are done early with their work. The points are tallied each week and count as 'cash' for the end-of-the-year auction. The kids bid on the items silently, and each item goes to the person who bids the most. Every week, students write a business letter to a company of their choice in hopes of getting an item donated.

Study.com: How do your students react to the reading project when you introduce it to them?

TC: They are excited because the fifth-grade auction is legendary at our school. The kids are happy to finally be a part of it.

Study.com: What sort of benefits does this project have for the students? What skills are they able to develop?

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TC: The number one skill we hope they come away with is a love of reading. The secondary benefit is that their vocabulary increases and they become better writers. The third benefit is that they become masterful at writing a formal business letter.

Study.com: How does this program benefit the students long-term as they continue on to higher grade levels?

TC: I will go back to the concept of 'a love of reading.' There is no greater joy than taking the time to get lost in a good book.

Study.com: For you personally, what is the highlight of doing the reading project with the students?

TC: The highlight of the program for me is the personal letter that the kids get back from the companies. I love to read them aloud to the class and selfishly want to keep them all, but I give them back. It is rewarding to see that their letters touch people in many different ways.

Study.com: How can our readers get involved and help with the reading project?

TC: We are looking for addresses of companies that are willing to donate to our program. There is nothing more disappointing when the kids receive a 'no thank you' letter back.

Companies willing to donate to the reading program can e-mail Ms. Cubbedge at tcubbedge@tvusd.k12.ca.us.

Students who need help building their confidence in their reading skills can turn to See Spot Read.

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