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South Fentress Elementary #1 In National Reading Competition

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
South Fentress Elementary #1 In National Reading Competition

South Fentress Elementary School won first place in a national reading competition out of more than 200 schools.

Reading Ambassador Belinda Payne said in the month of March alone, students in grades K through 5 read more than 3,000 hours. She said this was made possible through an online library called myON.

“It’s done something with the kids that they are just so excited about reading,” Payne said. “You would not believe the buzz that’s in our school and with our teachers. How much more kids are reading, and how much more they are enjoying what they’re reading.”

Payne said the kids have been thrilled with their successes. She said the competition among the students has even inspired kids who were reluctant to pick up a book to become passionate about reading.

Payne said a special moment was when she told their 3rd-grade students first. She said as they were prepping for TCAP testing, she wanted to give them a special kind of pep talk.

“My question was how does it feel to be number and sometimes when you ask kids they think about sports, and I said I’m not talking about your sports team, I’m not talking about anything except you, tell me what it feels like to be number one,” Payne said. “And then of course to tel them they were number one in the nation and to explain that meant outside of your school, outside of your county, outside of your state, I mean their eyes were bugging out of their heads it was awesome. And then they went into a test thinking, ‘We’re number one.’”

Payne said they are unsure of what the next steps are, but know they want this program to continue. She said they are working on ideas to ensure kids do not lose this momentum when school breaks for the summer.


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