A Little Rivalry at Bel Air Elementary Is a Good Thing When Students Are Learning
Posted on 02/21/2018
Picture of second-graders sitting on floor holding books in raised hands at Bel Air Elementary School

Passing the Olympic torch has taken on new meaning for students and staff at Bel Air Elementary School. For the two weeks coinciding with the 2018 Olympics in Pyeong Chang, South Korea, everyone in the entire school is racing through books to win the daily tally of number of minutes spent reading.

Bel Air Elementary students selecting books to readIn the spirit of the Olympics, students are reading Olympic-themed books provided through Reading is Fundamental, a non-profit literacy organization. The winning class at each grade level with the best “time” gets to carry the “torch” until they relinquish it to the next day’s winner. Teachers are competing against each other, and other groups of staff are also competing. Winning classes are announced at noon each day, and the torches are then passed on to the winners.

“Students love this and are very excited if they get to keep the torch for another day,” said Cari Hammel, librarian.

The Olympic Reading Relay extends beyond Bel Air.

“There's great excitement surrounding our friendly competition with Minnieville Elementary School,” said Principal Antoinette McDonald. “Our students, staff and administration are ‘ALL IN.’ It is important for students to see the importance of literacy and how it extends past our school walls and into their homes. This has created literary discipline among us all! What a phenomenal idea...building bridges through literacy!”

The “Big Reveal,” said Hammel, will be on Monday, February 26, when the total minutes spent reading by students at both schools is announced. There will be no gold medal, said Hammel, “Just bragging rights!”

Bel Air Elementary students on stage reading during lunch