The two young students at Caroline St. Elementary recently became the first two children in the school to complete the “1,000 Books Club” program, meaning they have each read 1,000 books since they first began the national reading program two-and-a-half years ago.
The program was originally initiated by Geyser Road Elementary about seven years ago, and was adopted by the five other elementary schools in the Saratoga Springs school district five years ago after they received a state grant to be used for reading and language arts, according to Caroline St. principal Dan O’Rourke.
Children and parents are introduced to the program at the kindergarten open house every year to be told how it works: The library holds 100 bags containing 10 different books in each bag, and children can “rent” them out to take home and read. After they read the 10 books in each bag, they simply take the bag back to the library and check out another bag, continuing the process until they finish all 100 bags.
Carlie and Noah have always had an affinity for reading, according to their mother, Johanna Friedman.
“Reading has always been an important part of our lifestyle,” Friedman said. “We’ve been reading to them since they were born. They love to read.”
Friedman said when she and her husband learned about the reading program, they decided participating in the program would be something different and fun to add to their reading routine. The couple started the program by reading books to the kids before they could read on their own, though the children began to take over the reading themselves as they grew older.
The program was a great way to bring the family together, Friedman said.
“In the beginning it was a way to bring a lot of good family time together,” she said. “Eventually they started reading on their own, and they love talking about the stories to each other and to me and their father.”
Friedman said the children were “ecstatic” when they learned that they were the first children ever to complete the 1,000 Books Club.
“They were grinning from ear-to-ear,” Friedman said. “They were so proud.”
Friedman said she was also very proud that Carlie and Noah completed the whole program.
“They worked hard and were persistent and stuck to it,” she said. “Noah is in second grade and there are some books that were a little below his reading level, so as he got a little older he wanted to read other things sometimes. But he did it and they both loved it.”
The next student closest to finishing the program has read about 60 bags of books, O’Rourke said, adding that 17 bags were checked out last week, so at least 17 families are currently participating in the program.
“Congratulations to the kids,” O’Rourke said. “I know they’re very proud and it’s a great accomplishment.”
Even though the Friedman children have completed the 1,000 Book Club program, the reading won’t stop here. Noah is currently reading the fourth out of seven of the Harry Potter books and Carlie is beginning the Magic Tree House series, among other books.
“[1,000 Book Club] is a great way to inspire kids to read,” Friedman said. “It’s another resource that exposes kids to a variety of literature. The program is truly phenomenal.”