Reading is FUNdamental at PS 8


BHB Reader Todd Glass sends in this guest blog about PS 8's Read-a-thon and their search for sponsors:

The PS 8 Read-a-thon is seeking help from local residents to sponsor students who want to participate, but aren't able to find sponsors of their own. The Read-a-thon is in its second year, and is the only fundraising activity at the school that involves students directly. Students track the number of minutes they read outside the classroom and seek sponsors who contribute between 3 to 5 cents per minute. Last year the school raised close to $12,000 with only 10% of the students participating. This year, to increase participation, reading sessions have been set up before and after school where older students read on their own and volunteers read to the Pre-K through 1st graders.

To date, halfway through the Read-a-thon, students have read over 140,000 minutes, topping last year's final total of 69,000 minutes. The Brooklyn Heights Association has already helped find some additional sponsors, however there are still a number of students who are reading, but cannot find a sponsor.

If you would like to sponsor a student or just contribute to the effort,you can write a check to the PTA of PS 8 and they will arrange for the money to be tallied towards a student's total. Contributions are tax deductible and can be sent to:

PTA of PS 8
37 Hicks Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Attn: Read-a-thon

The Read-a-thon began on October 18 and runs through November 15th.

To read more about the Read-a-thon and see the students in action, visit

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  • K201

    Todd, no photo credit for me?! ;)

  • lifer

    I am sponsoring 2 sisters. I was at their house, and they were doing their reading, the younger one still reads aloud, it bugged the older one so much she exclaimed “read INSIDE your brain!”… kids say the darndest things, as they say

  • PS8 Parent

    It is amazing to see everyone working together to make this a success. The kids are so excited to be reading and keeping track of who is winning. Please participate and sponsor someone. THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Realist

    Sounds like it’s awfully easy for the kids to cheat and lie about the number of hours they’ve read. The fact that they claim to have doubled (!!) the number of hours from the previous year is suspicious. Is there any way of verifying their claim? A reading comprehension test or essay? I used to listen to all the proud parents about how swell a school PS 8 is, but the more I hear and learn (independent of the parental spin), the more I’m beginning to think PS 8 is pretty common. Maybe less than that.

  • epc

    Yes, more testing please, let’s make sure the kids have actually read the twelfth sentence on page 110 of To Kill A Mockingbird, assuming you haven’t censored that from their reading list already.

    Geeez, what, are you with the TSA? Show me your papers kids, otherwise I’m going to have to haul you in for cheating in the Read-A-Thon!

  • Another PS 8 Parent

    Realist, maybe you should do a bit of reading yourself before you go shooting off your mouth. If you look at the PS 8 web site you would see that while the number of minutes (not hours!!) has more than doubled, the participation level has quadrupled. The real point here is that there are students who want to help make PS 8 an even better school but many come from families who lack the resources to contribute financially. But don’t worry, we’ll let those kids know that you think not only are they stupid but liars and cheaters as well.

  • hick-up

    According to the photo, the fifth grade is getting their ass kicked by the kindergartners. What’s up with that? Hope those 5 year olds are not getting reading credit for just looking at the illustrations!

  • Lifer

    The fifth grade is behind because they are the ones finding it hard to get sponsors, not because they are reading slower. Alot of the reading is done in school , in class.

  • Contrarian

    Our school does a Read-A-Thon too, and it’s always made me uncomfortable. Here’s why-

    I wonder about the message you send kids when you turn “reading minutes” into a commodity for which they receive compensation, much like kids are paid for doing chores.
    Aren’t we also telling them (out the other side of our mouths) that reading is its own reward- that it opens up worlds for them? After the thrilling “reading race” is over and the money counted, will just plain old picking up a book for pleasure be as pleasurable? And if they’re just trying to log minutes, what is the quality of the reading they’re doing?

    Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer money-raising activities like selling lemonade or cookies, or washing cars- doing stuff that really is a chore, and that one might reasonably expect to get paid for. That’s why while I give money to my kids’ school, it’s not through the Read-A-Thon.

  • Yet another PS 8 parent

    The read-a-thon started in October – the beginning of the school year. Many kids, from all demographics of families, do not read on a daily basis over the summer. Once the school year starts they need to get back in the habit of reading everyday. For elementary school kids, reading is still work that requires practice.

    The reading curriculum taught at PS 8 is centered on the belief that reading is a life long activity that provides pleasure and knowledge and that it is not merely a subject taught in school. Reading is taught with actual fiction and non-fiction books – the same books found at libraries and bookstores. They do not use text books prepared solely for reading instruction. The read-a-thon is a great way to inspire and encourage kids to read on a daily basis for pleasure. Hopefully they will find it satisfying and achievable and continue even after the read-a-thon ends.

    The read-a-thon is “thrilling” for the students. Many of the kids take pride in the number of minutes they have read. They find it thrilling because the goal is to read 1000 minutes. For a child 1000 is still a magical number. My daughters read every evening. They have kept track of their minutes and I have watched as their understanding of tackling such a large number comes into focus. The read-a-thon has provided them with an opportunity to understand a commitment that requires time and dedication.

    It is sad and pathetic that so many people find negative things to harp on. Education is not a priority in this country and that is where the problem stems from. It is not merely the fault of educators, principals, schools, or children and their parents from lesser income families. This post was placed to reach out to the community and to ask everyone to pitch in and help – not just to contribute to a school – but also to let children know that the community cares about their success.

  • PS8 Parent

    How sad that so many people thrive on negative feelings, even over a wonderful read a thon. Wow, I just can’t believe what I read above. What a scary world. Hey… look at the positive wonderful things going on… and hey maybe even smile once in a while, and while you are at it get a life.
    Carry on my friends…

  • http://contrai PS8 Parent

    contrarian… you sound like a lot of fun… A car wash is a great idea.. maybe on Hicks and or Henry.. oh and really safe.

  • Contrarian

    Well, I knew this would be a contrarian position, hence the pseudonym.

    I wasn’t trying to harp on the negative, but to voice genuine qualms I have about the way these fundraisers might turn reading into a quasi-commercial transaction, or a competition that values the “minutes” over the pure experience of immersion in a book. It feels a bit like paying for grades.

    Perhaps the positives outweigh the possible negatives, perhaps they far outweigh them. I only raised the question because I do genuinely wonder whether we are serving the children well by using their reading to raise money, and I think it’s worth at least discussing.

    I acknowledge I might be wrong. But I don’t think I’m totally wrong that there are potential issues with it.

    Perhaps this was the wrong forum for such a discussion. If so, I apologize. Good luck with the Read-A-Thon; I sincerely hope you raise a lot of money.

  • Not a PS8 parent

    Just my own two cents but I think the read-a-thon is a great idea. I way to raise moeny for the school, encourage fulfilling use of children’s time and imagintion, and promote education as well. I remember participating in a read a thon way back when I was in elementary school and it was exciting.

    The read-a-thon was like an intellectual sports competition, not the bribe type situation some are worried about. I can understand the concerns but the time devoted to the read a thon is much more valuable, IMO, than the reason for reading in the first place.

    I should disclose that I did come from a family where reading was deemed incredibly important, but also fun. I loved reading as a child and my mother couldn’t keep enough books in the house. I may have been immune to the bribery aspect….

  • Realist

    The majority of the posters on this particular topic are PS8 Moms who think everything they think up and everything their idiotic (yes, idiotic) little parasites do, is just perfection personified. “Oooo, look, little Taylor took a poop. And what a perfect poop. Oh, Taylor is such a perfect one, perfect Taylor, perfect little know-nothing moron, little Taylor.” LOL Oh, I’m sorry, Mommies. You’re right. You’re always right. Everything you say think and do is right on. Your marriages are perfect. Your work lives are perfect. Your homes, yup, perfect. You have perfect dogs and cats, you do perfect yoga on your mats, you’re not too skinny, not too fat, and dat is dat. …….You’re not stoopid, you’re no fool, you send your child to Public School……They don’t learn history, don’t learn math, they get graded on taking a bath ….. and that’s all we really need to know, cuz Public School is quite the show ……. just look at all of these well-read sprites, the creme de la creme of Brooklyn Heights.

  • oh my!

    Wow, realist. Did your Mommy do something bad to you as a child?

    Stop playing with the drugs and go to sleep now, dear.

  • not a parent

    No one is saying anthing about being perfect , and judging by your poetry,and the fact that you got your facts wrong on your first post (negating validity in anything you’d have to say up here) you could have stood to use a little more encouragement towards reading and comprehension when you were growing up (let me take a guess) outside New York? Let it go, read more, not a newspaper, not a magazine, read a book. Count the minutes YOU read and see how long it takes you to get to a thousand. And lose the name “Realist”, it certainly doesnt fit you.

  • nabeguy

    Gee, Realist, sounds like you’ve got a little breeder envy going on there. Any plans to have a little parasite of your own someday? I’m sure that it would be the perfect louse!

  • Dan

    25-30 years ago, my public elementary school had some read-a-thons. I racked up lots of minutes and raised some money. And I kept reading after it was over. I had a great public school education, went to a top college, have a successful career, and believe it or not, I still like to read. I haven’t figured out the negatives yet…

    I don’t have children, but I hope that one day when I do, and I send them to PS8, this sort of program is still going on.

  • ABC

    we had these in my local library when I was growing up 30 years ago to keep kids reading over the summer. can’t imagine people debated it back then!