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!

View popular schools

By Jessica Lyons


In a letter to, 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 interview, teacher Teresa Cubbedge explained more about the project and how it's benefitting her students. 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. 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. 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. What sort of benefits does this project have for the students? What skills are they able to develop?

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Teacher Education, Multiple Levels
  • Teaching, Adults
  • Teaching, Elementary
  • Teaching, High School
  • Teaching, Junior High
  • Teaching, Kindergarten and Preschool
  • Teaching, Waldorf and Steiner Education
  • Teaching, Young Children

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. 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. 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. 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

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

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

    • Doctor of Education in Teaching and Learning with an Emphasis in Adult Learning
    • Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership - Behavioral Health
    • M.Ed. in Elementary Education
    • M.A. in Reading with an Emphasis in Elementary Education
    • M.Ed. in Early Childhood
    • M.Ed. in Secondary Education
    • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
    • M.A. in Communication with an Emphasis in Education
    • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
    • B.S. in Elementary Education with an Emphasis in Christian Education
    • BS in Early Childhood
    • B.S. in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Master of Education in Elementary Education
    • Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction
    • Education Specialist in Educational Leadership Curriculum & Instruction

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Doctor of Education - Character Education
    • Doctor of Education - Curriculum & Instruction
    • Ph.D. in Education - Character Education
    • Ph.D. in Education - Curriculum & Instruction
    • Ed.S. in Educational Leadership - Character Education
    • M.Ed. - Individualized Degree Program
    • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction
    • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction - Christian School
    • Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Elementary Education, B.A. without Licensure
    • Early Childhood Education, B.A. without Licensure

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

    • MEd in Curriculum and Instruction - Early Childhood Education
    • MEd in Curriculum & Instruction - Leadership
    • MEd in Curriculum and Instruction - STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math)
    • MEd in Curriculum & Instruction - ESOL (K-Adult)
    • MEd in Curriculum & Instruction - Adolescent Literacy
    • MEd in Curriculum & Instruction - Methods & Curriculum

    What is your highest level of education?

    • MA in Education and Human Development in Educational Technology Leadership
    • MA in Education and Human Development in Organizational Leadership and Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Certificate in Early Childhood Education
    • Diploma in Early Childhood Education JEE.13 (Techniques D'ducation L'enfance - JEE.13)

    What year did you graduate high school?

  • What is your highest level of education?

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?