Reading Reaches New Heights at Local Middle School


Frederick, Md. - Students reading at Governor Thomas Johnson Middle School is nothing new, but their approach is with a balloon launch.

Librarian and organizer of the event, "Read Around the School," Kelley Pell-Williams said, "We're focusing on reading and building excitement and celebrating reading."

This is the first year the middle schoolers are doing "Read Around the School." A fire drill was used to get the students outside in an orderly fashion, and lined up. They circled around the school, with books and balloons in hand.

This event acted as a fundraiser to bring in author, Maraget Peterson Haddix. Balloons cost students just $1 and they were filled with helium and all let go at once.

Haddix is expected to visit in May, the end of the school year, but they've been promoting reading and the author's visit since day one of school this year.

"We're really excited. It's been several years since we've been able to host an author. And the students are really pleased to be able to do that," Williams said.

Eighth grade teacher and department head of language arts, Chris Andrukat was also excited to have her students reading.

"It's not real cool to read in eighth grade. But, by the end of the year, we read a lot," Andrukat said. She added, "It was beautiful to just go outside and read outside."

"Read Around the School" is just the first of many events Williams and other faculty members are organizing this school year.

They're actually planning on asking for students' input on how to read more throughout the year, with another fundraiser planned in November.

But the focus was on the balloon launch Thursday afternoon. And with their choice of a book, magazine, or even e-reader, students sat quietly for just 15 minutes. Something Williams says might happen again.

"This one went off really well, so perhaps we will do this again next year," Williams said.


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