Home edition of Third Grade Reading Challenge nears the finish line

It took a team effort to get Sno-Isle Libraries Mega-Fun, Biblio-Trivia, Rockem-Sockem, Third-Grade Reading Challenge back on track after coronavirus precautions forced cancellation of the event. 

Maddie Patton (wearing hat) answers online questions in the Third Grade Reading Challenge. Sno-Isle Libraries moved the event online due to coronavirus concerns.
Maddie Patton (wearing hat) answers online questions in the Third Grade Reading Challenge while her sister Ellie watches. Maddie is on the Saratoga Stars at Saratoga Elementary School in Stanwood. Sno-Isle Libraries moved the Reading Challenge online due to coronavirus concerns (photo gallery).

Reading Challenge organizers Joy Feldman, Kathy Smargiassi and Heather Orsen worked with other Sno-Isle Libraries staff to create a home edition of the Reading Challenge. 

It went live March 26. All 1,600 students on 227 teams could continue answering questions about the five books they read: “Here’s Hank: Bookmarks Are People Too!” by Henry Winkler, “Juana & Lucas” by Juana Medina, “Key Hunters: The Mysterious Moonstone” by Eric Luper, “Life According to Og the Frog” by Betty Birney, “Zoey and Sassafras: Dragons and Marshmallows” by Asia Citro of Seattle, and “Wedgie & Gizmo” by Suzanne Selfors of Bainbridge Island. 

The final round of the Reading Challenge and the “Wedgie & Gizmo” photo contest both wrap up at midnight Saturday, April 18.  

The 30 topscoring students will be invited to a special Zoom question-and-answer meeting with Citro on April 23. The winning photo contest entries will be posted on the Third-Grade Reading Challenge website and the Sno-Isle Libraries Facebook page early next week. Winners will be notified by email.  

We have been receiving fun and creative entries,” Feldman said. 

Coaches and students who want to know how their team did will get a message from the Third Grade Reading Challenge team. 

We will be these sharing results with coaches and students via email,” Feldman said. We know teams have missed each other and we hope this will help you celebrate their efforts. 

All things considered, the change to a home edition went well. 

“I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from this challenge,” Shaelynn Bates, a teacher at Riverview Elementary School in Snohomish, told Feldman in an email. “Parents are happy you made the competition available, given the circumstances.” 

The Reading Challenge also got thanks from parents and students at Twin City Elementary School in Stanwood. 

Chrysty Auckland said her son Nate had fun. 

“He said it was kind of hard, but he liked it,” Auckland said in an email to Twin City Elementary School Librarian Laura Laures. “I’m glad they found a way for the kids to still participate and do the challenge.” 

Students Bodi Hanson and Abby Schram are on The Chargers reading team at Twin City Elementary School. 

“We just finished the Third Grade Reading Challenge!” Chelsea Hanson, Bodi’s mom, wrote to Feldman in an email. “It was really cool as a mom to hear him think out loud and cite evidence when taking the test. Thank you for putting this on!” 

“I liked it,” Abby Schram said in an email. “I really wanted to do it at school because we would have had a team and it would have been fun to be able to work together as a team. It was super-duper fun though, even though I didn’t get to do it with my team.” 

Abby is team captain of The Chargers, “So missing the team aspect was a big deal for her,” Lauren Schram said in an email. “We made a poster representing her team and school and made a big deal about setting aside a specific time to do the challenge and celebrating afterwards.” 

Adapting to the Reading Challenge Home Edition took effort though. 

“Finding out there was going to be a home edition for the Reading Challenge brought mixed emotions for Abby,” Lauren Schram said. “So we talked about how it was OK to feel disappointed and excited at the same time. I think that helped, to know that being disappointed and sad that things aren’t ‘normal.’” 

The stay-at-home order has forced the Schram family into some “pretty big adjustments,” Lauren Schram said. Her husband had to close his gym, the family’s sole source of income. Abby really misses her friends and teachers. 

“Even though there has been a lot of stress and disappointment, we are trying really hard to find the silver linings in this hard time,” Schram said. “I don’t know what ‘normal’ will look like in the future but I do know that we are so thankful for what the library and the schools are doing to bring as much normal to our kids as they can. It makes a huge difference and it does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.” 

“Thank you so much letting me (and the team) know that the online version helped somewhat alleviate the sadness of not having the in-person challenge,” Reading Challenge organizer Heather Orsen told Schram in an email. “We were quite disappointed too.”