Austin had Fine Arts Night tonight. He didn't tell me until we were on the way that he was going to be getting an award. I was slightly surprised by it. He has been doing "Reading Counts" all year at this school. I do not agree with the program. The entire basis is that you read a book, then take a quiz on the book. Each book is worth so many "points" (based on a Lexile score) and you get prizes based on how many points you rack up. I have no problem with giving tests to see how a child has comprehended the book, but my problem is with getting prizes for reading. I think you should just expect a child to read...no matter what...and they shouldn't be rewarded for it. Austin loves to read. Anyone who knows him, knows that he constantly has a book under his nose. He's forever reading three and four different books at a time. So for him, Reading Counts was a breeze. He's continually brought home little updates throughout the year that list the books he's read, the Lexile Score, date read, percent correct on quiz and how many words there were in each book. It's all been interesting to see what books he's read (especially when a few he's been expressly told he could not read, but whatever) and I didn't think it was too big of a deal. He's kept me up to date on how many points he's racked up and he has gotten pizza slices and other prizes, plus a $5 gift certificate to the book fair (by far, the greatest prize given...I have no problem with that as a prize). I did not, however, put much stock in it. I thought everyone was getting points and I really didn't understand the whole system....obviously. Last night, as they were announcing the "winners" for Reading Counts for the year, they said that 42 students (out of the entire school) had gotten between 100-200 points and everyone cheered. That's when it hit me....this was a HUGE deal. I KNEW Austin had around 600 points. The next level, 250-400 points...silver...had only 8 students in the entire school. Then she got to the "gold" level readers. Austin was one of THREE...count 'em, three!!!...students! Out of the entire school! Him and his best friend and an eight grader received the gold level. Austin happened to have racked up the second most points in the entire school! Mikhael, his best friend, beat him by 3 points. I was so proud of him...and I did apologize to him for not making a bigger deal out of it to him throughout the year. He's got a little certificate, ribbon, and his final report. I am really proud of him...and more than a little upset with myself for not realizing until 2 weeks before school is out how big of a deal this is.
He also sang a few songs last night. They did a great job. With the awards before and band and vocal from all three grades performing, it made for a very late night. We got home at 9:45! We had left at 5:30. Aidan insisted on going and I let him. I had no idea how long it would get. We weren't even halfway through the awards part when he was spinning on the floor. Ugh! He's not going next year!
All in all, it was a great night!