Students read to help less fortunate

WILTON – Last Christmas, the sixth-graders at Florence Rideout Elementary School held a read-athon and earned about $1,300 that they spent on toys for the town’s annual Christmas Store, which supplies gifts for the less fortunate.

They had so much fun doing it, teacher Jeannette D’Entremont said Wednesday, that they did it again this year with even better results. On Thursday, four students from each of the two classes will spend $1,673 at Wal-Mart. The Christmas Store is open Friday and Saturday this week.

Sophie Merrill is the other sixth-grade teacher and there are about 50 sixth-graders.

The idea came to D’Entremont last year, Merrill agreed and the hope was to raise a few hundred dollars. Pledges range from a few pennies to 10 cents per page of reading. Students are expected to keep accurate accounts of their reading progress including book titles, pages read, time spent reading and amount pledged.

The read-athon is held over five days. Each student finds sponsors who pledge any amount they wish per page read.

“There are some who earn only a dollar, and one student who earned over $800,” she said. “It depends on how many sponsors they get and what they pledge,” as well as the number of pages read.

“We also get some donations,” she said.

D’Entremont said she checked with the Christmas Store to see what was needed, and gifts will be selected this year for grades 3 through 7.

“That seemed to be the need last year,” she said. “They told us our gifts went first because they had been chosen by children. We brainstormed. (Our kids) all knew what kids would like, things we (teachers) didn’t know anything about. The kids really love it.”

The shopping is the most fun, of course.