‘Bounce into Reading’

Sep. 06, 2013 @ 09:17 PM

In the L.B. Yancey Elementary School gym Friday morning, 300 elementary students sat cross-legged around the free throw line as they bobbed their heads and clapped to the rhythm of the school’s new reading rap.

Lanisha Daye, the assistant principal, stood in the middle of the gym, rapping to the steady, bass beat.

“I’m boucing, man, I’m bouncing,” Daye said, sporting gym shorts and a yellow jersey.

As Daye rapped, the animated students around her chimed in and nearly drowned out the sound of her voice.

The reading rap and Friday morning’s rally are part of an initiative called “Bounce into Reading” at Yancey that sets standards, activities and prizes for students to get them excited about reading.

Daye said she wants students to enjoy reading and get rid of the sentiment that reading is a chore.

“I want to make sure we are producing literate students,” she said.

Teaching assistant Jameel Williams said the initiative is helpful for faculty as well as students.

“It gets the teachers amped up too,” he said.

Daye said it improves morale and fosters competition among teachers, who want their students to be the most ambitious readers.

The emphasis on student literacy includes a second school-wide reading initiative, known as BARK. The acronym stands for: be ready, accessible to your book, read silently, and keep track of what you read.

In addition to BARK, students are required to read for 30 minutes every day from 8:15 to 8:45 a.m.

Last year, Yancey’s theme was “Wild about Reading” and Daye set a reading goal of 39,897 books over the course of the year. Daye said the kids not only met that goal, but they exceeded it.

This year, students are responsible for reading more than 44,588 books between Monday and April 17, which amounts to each student reading one book per day.

When students achieve that goal, they will earn rewards in the form of a pizza party and a chance to see a Duke women’s basketball game, an N.C. State women’s volleyball game and a Durham Bulls game.

But Daye said she is still working toward her fundraising goal of at least $4,000, which the school needs to cover the cost of the reading rewards.

Last year, she received about $2,000 from local donations and sponsors.

At the reading rally, Principal Clarence Hicks told students to expect more events like the one Friday morning.

“We are going to be doing treats like this throughout the whole school year,” he said.

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.