The Wilton Education Foundation just wrapped up its 8th year of the Reading Rocks! campaign, bringing in $36,800 thanks to eager readers in Wilton’s elementary schools, Miller-Driscoll and Cider Mill. Since the fundraising campaign’s inception, WEF has raised over $315,000.

Reading Rocks! is a non-competitive read-a-thon program with a goal to encourage children to have fun reading while raising money for the foundation. All proceeds benefit Wilton’s public schools. Students choose their own reading goals, from independent reading, reading with an adult or sibling, flipping through a picture book, reading via Skype with a far-away relative–or whatever they prefer. All students in grades PreK-5 are invited to participate.

This year, as always, the pledge period wrapped up with “Dress Like a Rockstar Day” on Jan. 18. Organizers said this year, in particular, was special, as select students from the Middlebrook School Orchestra visited Cider Mill to perform a few “ROCKestra” songs for the students.

“Not only were the middle-schoolers excited to perform for the Cider Mill kids, but it was also an awesome way for them to give back to the younger grades. Many of them recalled Reading Rocks from their elementary school days , and they really appreciated this opportunity,” says Reading Rocks! co-chair Jennifer Carvajal.

There were winners as well–both individual students and teachers as well as classes and grades/Cider Mill houses which won prizes.

Logging the highest participation and winning a homework-free day and extra recess were Kent at Cider Mill (71% participation) and Miller-Driscoll’s 2nd Grade (57% participation).

The winners of the Kindle Fires by Grade/House and class were:

Pre-K:  Evan Brooks (Teacher:  DiNoto)
Kindergarten:  Christopher Thompson (Teacher:  Burdick)
1st Grade:   Matthew Cunningham (Teacher:  Rosenberg)
2nd Grade:  Spencer Stalls (Teacher:  Casl)
Belden Hill:  Daniel Costanzo (5th Grade)
Cannondale:  Tristen Albright (4th Grade)
Kent:  Gabby Ray (3rd Grade)
Nod Hill:  Kaitlin Mak (3rd Grade)

The Grand Prize iPad Winner was Bella Scanlan (2nd Grade–Kear).

Individual teachers won prizes as well. The teacher in each grade/house with the highest participation won a $50 gift card to Amazon to be used towards items for his or her classroom.

Over the years, the effort has helped WEF fund several programs in the schools, including:

  • Miller-Driscoll TV/Recording Studio
  • Middlebrook School Greenhouse
  • Community Read Aloud Day
  • SMARTBoard purchases
  • Professional development for Wilton Public School teachers (typically $10,000-$20,000 per year)