Rochester Middle School takes top honors again in nationwide summer reading challenge

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Back row, from left: AlecZander McNeal, Matthew Duong, Nathan Devine, George Mitropoulos, Stella Mitropoulos, Walter Fisher Front row, Sophia Morann, Gabriella Lugo, Mikel Roberson, Caitlynn Boston, Clara Becker. (Courtesy photo)

ROCHESTER - Rochester Middle School students once again outpaced their peers from throughout the Granite State in the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge, Rochester Schools announced today.

Rochester Middle School students read for more than 289,000 minutes this summer, earning them the title of "Best in State" for New Hampshire in the 2018 Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge. To celebrate students' reading achievements, Rochester Middle School will be featured in the 2019 Scholastic Book of World Records to be released this fall, and will receive a commemorative plaque and a celebration kit.

This summer, children from all 50 states, two U.S. territories, and Washington read 135,865,170 million minutes in the 2018 Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge.

The complete list of "Best in State" schools is available at

Rochester Middle School also earned the "Best in State" honor in 2017.

"It is an honor to have our students being recognized as the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge Best in State Winner for New Hampshire. Our school feels that reading is an essential life skill and we encourage our students to read for pleasure as often as possible," Middle School Principal Adam Houghton said. "Our students did a tremendous job of reading throughout last summer and it is wonderful for them to be recognized by Scholastic. We look forward to next summer and the opportunity to compete for the opportunity to be recognized as the Best in State for the third consecutive year."

The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge is a free online reading program designed to help kids turn the "summer slide" - the learning loss which can occur over the summer months - into a "summer leap" by discovering the power and joy of reading for fun. This year's theme - A Magical Summer of Reading - came to life on the website with Jim Kay's artwork from the Harry Potter illustrated editions, encouraging children to join the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the U.S. publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

For 18 weeks (from May 7 through Sept. 7), the program offered kids the opportunity to log their reading minutes to earn digital prizes by completing weekly reading challenges, and gain access to reading activities, including games, quizzes and videos based on the Harry Potter series. Educators, public librarians, community literacy partners and families had access to free resources including book lists for children of all ages in both English and Spanish, video content from literacy experts and authors, downloadable instructional activities, reading pledges, logs and certificates.

"We recognize that the encouragement, support, and motivation provided by educators, librarians, community partners, and parents and family members is a driving force in ensuring that students read during the summer months and head back to school ready to tackle grade-level work," Scholastic Education Chief Academic Officer Michael Haggen said. "Today, we not only honor them, but we also celebrate the accomplishments of every child who contributed to the impressive 135,865,170 million minutes entered in the 2018 Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge, and we look forward to seeing them continue to grow their literacy skills and passion for reading throughout the school year."

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