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Bedford Hills Elementary School's Summer Reading Challenge Promotes a Love of Reading

Mr. Gold in the dunk tank

“Dunk Mr. Gold! Dunk Mr. Gold!”

Bedford Hills Elementary School students cheered with delight as six of their peers stood in front of a big dunk tank outside of the school, ready to take aim. Principal Zbyněk Gold sat on a platform inside.

“I am always looking for ways to encourage students to read and to help parents motivate their children to read,” Gold said. “The feedback from over the years has shown this works!”

Dunk tank privileges serve as a reward for students who read the most books over the summer. This year, 55% of Bedford Hills students participated and read a total of 3000 books. The students who read the most books from each grade got a chance to dunk Gold during a schoolwide assembly.

This year’s winners included: Aaron Hodge (kindergarten), Timothy Gould (first grade), Ava Liberati (first grade), Mason Murphy (second grade), Misha Shankar (third grade), Matthew Begansky (fourth grade) and Toby Najera Lopez (fifth grade).

For the second year in a row, it was Toby’s throw that submerged Gold.

“It was pretty cool,” Toby, who read 52 books this summer, said with a big grin. His favorite books this summer were those in The Unicorn Rescue Society series.

“I read all different kinds of books,” he said. “I just choose whatever interests me. I like this challenge because it encourages me to read even more books.”

Gold noted that he hopes this challenge is just as encouraging for struggling readers as it is for students like Toby.

“If an older sibling reads a book to a younger sibling, they both get credit for the book,” Gold explained. “If parents read a story to their children, the whole family gets credit.”

Mr. Gold and this year's top readers