April is a time to celebrate renewal, regrowth, and reading! In its 10th year, Team Read’s Spring Read-a-Thon is in full swing and will wrap up at the end of the month.

Students read for 30 minutes a day and track their progress with their teen reading coach during the Read-a-Thon. This year, they’re using a new online book log created by Site Assistant Helin Taskesen.

Each program site also tracks minutes read using a colorful gumball machine graphic. For example, when students read for 30 minutes, they get to add a gumball to their school’s gumball machine. Students love tracking their reading progress as a group.

An example of the Read-a-Thon “gumball machine” used to track progress at each program site.

“Students are glowing when they report how many minutes they read,” said Bill Eisele, Team Read Project Coordinator at Seattle Public Schools. “And teen coaches tell us how impressed they are by the independent reading their students report.”

An essential aspect of the Read-a-Thon is building reading stamina, said Eisele. “The Read-a-Thon encourages students to practice their reading skills. It’s also an opportunity for teen coaches and students to celebrate all the reading students do during and outside Team Read – at school, at home, and over Spring Break.”

Every site that fills its Read-a-Thon gumball machine will get to celebrate with a Team Read online movie party. Coaches and students will come together online to have some fun — they’ll watch movie clips together and talk about their favorite movies.

While the Read-a-Thon ends soon, the program has a lasting impact on young readers, because it encourages them to read on their own now and in the future, including over summer breaks.

“Team Read wants to inspire independent reading, so students will continue reading and exploring new books after the program,” said Eisele.