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Author visits La Paloma, awards top AR readers

FALLBROOK — “How many books do you think that the average American adult buys each year?”

Guest author Laura McNeal posed the question to 75 distinguished students at a special lunchtime award celebration on Friday, December 12.

The top 25 Accelerated Reading (AR) point-earners from each grade level guessed the number would be somewhere between seven and 150 books.

Mouths dropped open in astonishment when McNeal revealed that, on the average, each adult in America purchases only one book per year.

Co-author of several young adult fiction books, McNeal shared her history and love of books before she answered questions from the students about writing books and having them published.

She encouraged students to persevere in their efforts, telling them that many famous authors endure numerous rejections before finally having their work published. Dr. Seuss’ first book, for example, was rejected by 27 publishers before it was accepted!

Students discovered that it might take an author a year to write a book and another two to three years for it to be published.

Laura and her husband, Tom McNeal, have four books published by a division of Random House Publishers, with a fifth coming out around 2010.

After the author’s presentation, students were honored with special certificates of recognition and pins were given to the top three AR point-earners in each grade.

The goal of the Accelerated Reader program is to build a “culture of reading” and make reading practice more effective for every student.

La Paloma began utilizing the AR program many years ago and the student response has been quite positive. Children choose books suited to their individual reading abilities and interests.

AR list books have been pre-analyzed and categorized into reading levels, making it easy for students to find books appropriate for them to read.

After finishing the book, they then take an AR quiz about the material they’ve read. From this assessment, teachers gain information regarding reading comprehension and reading rates, as well as the amount of reading each student completes.

Any student, regardless of ability or reading level, can achieve success with this program; reading practice is personalized to each student’s current level.

Students earn points for their correct answers on the quizzes; the more books they read, and the higher the level of difficulty, the more points they earn.

Students have the opportunity to be recognized and awarded for their efforts three times a year. The best reward they receive, however, comes from the adventures they enjoy while reading great books.


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