‘Road to Success’ aims to inspire desire to read in Utah students

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OREM, Utah -- Reading is fundamental for a child's development and for putting them on the right path to succeed in many areas of life, and a program being used at several schools across the state aims to help kids find the drive to read.

The Road to Success is a program designed to help students get interested in reading. It’s making an impact for students all across the state, but for one student at Suncrest Elementary School in Orem, it’s making all the difference. Ethan Barney, a third grader, was not too keen on reading at the start of the school year.

"He never really enjoyed reading,” his mother, Mary Barney, said. “…It would take 45 minutes just to get through 15 minutes of reading.”

But Barney said she has seen changes in Ethan’s reading habits, partly due to the Road to Success program offered at school. The program was developed by the Success in Education Foundation, which is a charity that works with schools to reward students for reading. The program makes use of a fun and interactive website to help students and their parents track students’ reading—and they provide prizes along the way.

Principal Tommy Freeman said those prizes are helpful.

"Kids like to earn stuff no matter how valuable or not valuable it is,” he said. “So, on the website, they get badges for going in and just clicking on a page, if their parents log in, they get a badge for that."

Those badges helped ignite the spark Ethan needed to start reading. Students earn badges, and then they receive tickets to enter a drawing for prizes at the school. Ethan has won a backpack, a book on stallions and passes for popcorn. His mom said the program has made an impact.

"And now, I mean I wake up in the morning, and he is reading on his own,” Mary Barney said.

Ethan’s teacher, Diane Wardle, said she’s noticed changes as well.

“He’s excited about reading, and when he comes into class he picks his book up and, 'let's read’” she said.

As Ethan and his parents have implemented the program at home, his interest has changed from simply getting rewards from reading to delving into the world of imagination books offer. He has read 46 books since the beginning of the school year.

"Really what we are trying to do is get them involved in reading long enough that they find the book that creates the reading magic for them,” Freeman said.

For more information about the Road to Success, click here.

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