Lincoln-Way East students excel in state reading program
Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Each school year, Lincoln-Way students are encouraged to participate in “Read for a Lifetime,” (RFAL) a statewide program to promote enjoyment of reading. In early March, the program released statistics for the 2016-2017 school year, revealing the impressive drive of Lincoln-Way students. The data showed:

• Lincoln-Way East students made up over a quarter of the total student participants in Illinois.
• Of the 3,791 books read throughout the state of Illinois in 2016-2017, Lincoln-Way East students read 1,069. (For the 2017-2018 school year, the number of books read by the Griffins increased to 1,450!)
• Throughout the state of Illinois, 26 students earned the “four-year award” for participating in RFAL throughout their entire high school career. Eight of the 26 four-year participants were Lincoln-Way East students.

In order to receive recognition for participation, students must choose and read four pieces of literature from a list of 25 books. The student must complete the four books within the school year.

On Wednesday, May 12, 2018 Lincoln-Way East students were recognized for their RFAL achievement.

Students who read all 25 books this year include: senior Maddie Dockweiler; juniors Connor Knutson, Zoe Randolph and Paige Sackman; sophomores Kendall Blankenburg, Mackenzie Brady, Elizabeth Co, Lauren Dauber, Jessie Guo, Husna Hussaini, Taylor Lindaur, Abigail McCreary, Emma O'Hagan, Alex Perez; and freshmen Faith Buralli, Naomi Carl, Brooklyn Chojnacki, Kayleigh Heffelmire, Alison Joyce, Sydney Smithgall, Jessica Stoiber, Rebekah Stryjewski and Ashley White.

Seniors who participated in RFAL throughout all years received four-year recognition. Four-year recipients seniors are: Emily Bonebrake, Maddie Dockweiler, Mason Gregg, Hannah Barnard, Bariha Kazi, Bridgette Stepanek and Rosemary Pimpinella.

Despite her busy class schedule, Griffin senior Maddie Dockweiler has found time to earn a “100 Book Club” title. Although students are only required to read four of the 25 books on the RFAL list, Dockweiler read all 25 books each year. “Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve loved to read,” she says.

Dockweiler initially became interested in the RFAL program when she began as an aid for Librarian Jennifer Siemann. She realized she’d already read and enjoyed many of the books on the RFAL list, so she thought she would check out the others. “The first two years, it was easy to read 25. The last two years, it was hard to keep up with schoolwork and college applications, but I got it done,” she says.

Dockweiler says that her interest in reading has aided her in many ways. “In terms of school, I think reading is important for test taking; I’ve noticed the reading sections are easier.”

Most of all, though, she says that she simply enjoys getting lost in a book. “A lot of books hold inner meaning and I just love the stories.”

Student participation from 2016-2017 carried into 2017-2018, as numbers have continued to increase throughout District 210. At Lincoln-Way East alone, 192 students and 16 staff members completed the four book minimum, and 23 students and one staff member read all 25 pieces of literature from the booklist.

It’s not only students who participate in the RFAL program, either. State-wide, 18 adults participated in 2016-2017; of those 18 adults, half were from Lincoln-Way East.

In addition to a certificate of achievement, students who participate in RFAL also receive recognition on their transcripts. Siemann says, “Starting freshman year, with the support and collaboration of reading teachers, we work hard to instill a love of reading in our students. We encourage them to set goals and strive to meet those goals, including participating in and completing the State of Illinois' Read for a Lifetime Program. Students who complete the program can include this achievement on job and college applications. Literacy is a critical skill that guarantees success in college and in the workforce. In an increasingly competitive application process, this achievement might be a deciding factor as literacy is so critical to future success.”