Reading is the BOM

By: Angie Ashley and Tori Vanderpool

There’s a new program at Male High that the sophomore teachers have created. This program is called BOM, or Book of the Month. This program is to help increase growth in student reading levels. Every month from August to May, students had to read one book or more of their choice. Then students would take a AR test at the end of the month to prove they have read. Maya Crimes says, “I read a few pages, and then I knew whether I wanted to continue reading the book of not. Once I found a book I enjoyed, I couldn’t put it down.”

The teachers also created a red, yellow, green system based off of what students received on their tests. Green being an A, yellow plus for a B, yellow minus for a C, and Red for all D’s and U’s. Every AR score was entered in the mastery category, meaning this test was a large percentage of the student’s grade. Lucas Crawford says ,”Well, I got seven out of the eight books where I scored green, and the one I didn’t score a green on, I got a yellow. The Red, Yellow, Green system isn’t my favorite because if I’m one point from an A [as in 89%], I would want that rather than the low B [as in 80%], I would rather be graded to the exact percentage than go under a grade gap.”

Every month, students were given check sheets to track the work they’ve done and how far they are in their book by each week. In the past years, the sophomores were coming in the school year not reading on grade level, so the BOM program was made for the benefits of getting students on or above grade level. Elgie Harris says ,”My reading level was exactly 10.0 and now is 11.0. It nice to see the difference between the start of the year to the end. The celebration was a nice way to let the kids who could achieve all the green that was required. I got seven out of the eight, and the one I didn’t get a green on, I had gotten a yellow.”

One of the consistent readers, Marchel Stone says, “Having a teacher like Mrs. Smith helped us a lot by understanding our book more when giving checkpoint sheets. Without the questions she gave us, there would be no purpose in reading because you wouldn’t know who the protagonist was.” English teacher, Mrs. Jankowski explains, “Once a student finds a book they can connect to, and once they trust us and build confidence, they’ll progress.”

The school year had almost come to an end and the teachers wanted to reward students who have done great on at least six out of eight on their AR tests and those who have shown growth throughout school year. The sophomore English teachers, Mrs. Jankowski, Mrs. Smith, Ms. Hare and Mrs. Gossett, met every purple day at 1:00 where they listened to each others ideas and compromised. They wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page, in order for the program to be consistent and organized.

On May 18, 2017, the sophomore teachers proudly held the celebration for the readers who have earned the moment to be honored for their success. Over 329 students attended for being proficient and distinguished readers. As students gathered into the small gym, they were greeted with huge smiles and Ehrler’s ice cream. A variety of songs were played and friends gathered around to talk to each other. During the event, a few of the teachers spoke to congratulate the hard work they felt like the students have done. They read off the number of books students have read all together and the number of students who attended. Each teacher called out all of their students who earned a t-shirt for scoring green on eight out of eight on their AR tests. Daniel Myers says “I got the t-shirt because I got green on my AR test. It really helped my reading throughout the year; I’m now on a 12.4 reading level. It wasn’t hard but it was just getting into habit of reading everyday, which was hard.”

Our first celebration was very positive. The kids were well organized and they enjoyed it. The ice cream and shirts were great,” Mrs Smith said. “As long as there are funds we will absolutely continue to have more celebrations in the future.” Tony Mosley says, “The celebration was really nice and I’m glad to be able to be apart of the first AR book celebration, even though I wish I could’ve gotten a shirt.” Each teacher confirms that they plan to continue the BOM program for years to come.

Although sophomores are keeping the program, they also have discovered new methods for those who are doing poorly on their AR tests. “For next year, if a student receives a 60% or below, they’ll have to come in study skills and read to the teacher, and explain what they had just read. We call it response to intervention,” Mrs Smith said. Hopefully, from the class of 2020 and on, we will see an increase in not only reading levels, but the amount of kids who attend this annual celebration.