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Superhero-themed program to create super readers

Adults in superhero costumes roamed Boulevard Mall on Saturday afternoon.

No, Comic-Con wasn’t in town.

Clark County School District elementary schools started their summer reading program, Reading Rangers Summer Reading Quest.

Upon arrival, students received a bingo card, which was checked off each time they found a teacher dressed as a superhero. Once their card was filled, they were rewarded with free books.

“I like that books make you feel like you’re inside them,” said Malaeloa Aimaasu, a fifth-grader at James Madison Ullom Elementary. “I’m hoping to find more books that interest me to read this summer.”

The Reading Rangers program, launched in spring 2014 for kindergarten through fifth grade, was created around the superhero theme as each literary proficiency level is associated with a superhero character. Before students move up levels, they must pass a proficiency exam.

Students also constantly battle their archenemy, Stinky McNoreads, who attempts to distract them and get them away from books.

Reading Rangers coordinator Salvador Rosales said the program has been successful at getting students to enjoy reading.

“We have kids sneaking books into math class,” he said. “I never get tired of seeing students get buried in a book; that’s what I live for.”

Jeanine Labine was at Boulevard Mall with her three children who are part of the Reading Rangers program.

“It’s gotten them excited about reading,” Labine said. “We’ve had to go to the library every two weeks to get more books.”

Labine’s son, Benjamin Lindaman, a recent fifth-grade graduate of Mervin Iverson Elementary, said he won’t stop reading now that he’s done with the program.

“I love how imaginative you can be while reading books and that there’s no one way to imagine a character you’re reading about,” he said. “Books can take you on adventures.”

Erin Collins, head of the Whitney Library Youth Services Department, said the impact of the Reading Rangers program has trickled over to the library.

“Most elementary schools in our area are Reading Rangers schools, and we’ve seen a lot of kids becoming more excited about reading,” she said. “We’ve also seen an increase in circulation because of the program.”

Collins added that school district students can take advantage of Clark County Library District summer programs including Whitney Library’s “Club Read,” a summer program for children and teens.

Continuing to read throughout the summer is vital for students to combat the “summer slide,” said Kim Bjerke, James Madison Ullom Elementary strategist.

“The summer slide is when kids are not reading and not maintaining where they were when they left school,” she said. “We want to keep their love of reading going so they come back excited about what they’ve read over the summer.”

Bjerke said she recommends parents take their children to the library and encourage them to read as much as possible this summer.

She said she advises students to read in their free time and take a book on trips. “The biggest thing for them is to maintain their reading level.”

Contact reporter Ann Friedman at afriedman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4588. Follow @AnnFriedmanRJ on Twitter.

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