Kids find reading is fun

HARLINGEN — Millions and millions of words!

A group of high-powered middle schoolers put their passion for reading into high gear last year in the All Star Readers program. This past week, they proudly represented their schools at the Harlingen school board meeting.

“It was really interesting,” said Clarissa Rubio, 13, an eighth grader at Vela Middle School, as she recalled her reading experience.

She was one of 60 middle schoolers from five campuses present at the meeting.

“It helped me learn a lot more,” she said. “I read one million words. I like fiction books, sometimes a little science fiction, a little bit of mystery.”

She considered for a moment the recognition at the school board.

“It’s a big honor,” she said.

The All Star Reader Program aims to encourage more students to read with greater comprehension, said Mireya Galvan, facilitator for the program. A test for each book evaluates how well the student understood the material, she said.

Interest in the program seems to be growing. The previous school year, 95 middle schoolers signed up. This year there were 116.

“I think these students are more aware of this,” said Galvan, who is also library coordinator for the district.

“It really creates an interest,” she said. “We do have a lot more resources for books. I want to challenge them.”

Students appreciated the challenge.

“I read over two million words,” said Camryn Hill, 13, also a Vela eighth grader.

“I just love to read,” she continued. “I just love to read. It’s one of my favorite things to do.”

“She goes through two books a week,” said her father, Walter Hill.

“I read non-fiction, young adult novels and things like that,” she said, adding that the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson books are some of her favorites.