Woodland Reads program encourages and motivates young readers at Woodland Public Schools

Patti Cutler, a fourth-grade teacher at North Fork Elementary School, introduced the Woodland Reads program in 2015

Woodland Reads, a teacher-led program, increases family togetherness and improves students’ reading skills by providing free books for elementary students to read with their families throughout April. At the end of the month-long event, each student entered a raffle by correctly answering questions about the book for a chance to win a free bicycle and safety helmet donated by the Woodland-Kalama Masonic Lodge #17.

The Woodland-Kalama Masonic Lodge #17 donated a total of ten bikes and safety helmets, four each to Columbia and North Fork Elementary Schools and two to Yale Elementary, Woodland Public Schools' remote school located in Ariel. Photo courtesy of Woodland School District
The Woodland-Kalama Masonic Lodge #17 donated a total of ten bikes and safety helmets, four each to Columbia and North Fork Elementary Schools and two to Yale Elementary, Woodland Public Schools’ remote school located in Ariel. Photo courtesy of Woodland School District

Patti Cutler, a fourth-grade teacher at North Fork Elementary School, introduced the Woodland Reads program in 2015. The program became so popular that all three of Woodland’s elementary schools now take part – Columbia Elementary, Yale Elementary, and, of course, Cutler’s home school, North Fork Elementary. 

“Developing reading skills at a young age is incredibly important to a student’s lifelong learning,” she explained. “In addition, studies show that family involvement can dramatically improve student learning, so I wanted to create a program that would address both needs.” 

While Woodland Reads had to be put on hiatus in 2020 due to remote learning and restrictions stemming from COVID-19, the program returned this year with each family receiving a free copy of “The World According to Humphrey” by Betty G. Birney, a fictional story about an elementary class’s pet hamster, Humphrey, who learns to read and write while having adventures with his classmates. 

Columbia Principal David Starkey introduces Ron Horn and presents four bikes to winning students. Photo courtesy of Woodland School District
Columbia Principal David Starkey introduces Ron Horn and presents four bikes to winning students. Photo courtesy of Woodland School District

Students received the book in either English or Spanish and read chapters every night throughout April. During class the following day, students answered questions about the book to enhance their reading comprehension skills. The classroom with the most students answering the questions correctly received a prize each day. 

“We find that adding an element of competition encourages students to participate and read with their family,” said Cutler. “The students love competing to demonstrate their knowledge.”

On Fri., May 7, Ron Horn, the Master of Woodland-Kalama Masonic Lodge #17, presented bikes to students who won the drawing at each elementary school. Columbia and North Fork Elementary Schools each received four bikes and Yale Elementary, Woodland Public School’s smaller remote school located in Ariel, received two bikes. 

Students who correctly answered questions about the book were entered into a raffle for a chance to win a free bike and safety helmet. Photo courtesy of Woodland School District
Students who correctly answered questions about the book were entered into a raffle for a chance to win a free bike and safety helmet. Photo courtesy of Woodland School District

“The Mason mission is about knowledge and the belief that the more people can educate themselves, the better they will make society overall,” said Horn. “The members of the lodge missed doing this event last year, so we were excited to start it up again and plan to continue doing it every year.”

For individuals interested in joining or supporting the Woodland-Kalama Lodge #17, email wklodge17@gmail.com.

Learn more about how Woodland Public Schools educates our students and serves the community, by visiting the dedicated news webpage at www.woodlandschools.org/news/wsd

Information provided by Woodland School District.

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