With support from the Hattie A. and Freddie C. Lynam Trust, the Downeast Dog Scouts are sponsoring Idita-Read Teams at the Ashley Bryan School on Islesford, Blue Hill Library, Frenchboro School, Northeast Harbor Library and the Tremont School.
The Idita-Read is a Read A Route reading incentive event for school-age readers organized by WorldWide IDEA. The Downeast Dog Scouts troop dogs are serving as team mascots, encouraging their reading teams along the way. This year’s mascots are: Alaskan Malamute, Bruno; Golden Retrievers, Raya and Rebel; Great Pyrenees, Cirra; Italian Greyhounds, Bri and Gracie; and Labrador Retrievers, Rissa, Jill and Lily.
Mirroring Alaska’s biggest annual sled dog race, the Idita-Readers rely on reading minutes to travel the distance along the Iditarod trail from Anchorage to Nome. Participants read anything they desire and will log their reading minutes. One minute of reading equals one mile on the Iditarod trail.
Based on the 2013 Iditarod Race Schedule, readers can take up to 52 days to complete the race from March 2 through April 22. The 2013 Idita-Read total reading goal is 998 minutes per reader, which equates to reading 133 minutes a week with a daily reading goal of about 20 minutes.
Educators will provide books and resources encouraging the readers to learn more about the Iditarod and mushing, geography, mapping, climate, science and technology, social studies and art. Each participant will track his or her own trail progress on maps with checkpoints and learn along the way.
In an assembly on Friday, March 1, the Tremont School Idita-Readers, school staff and Downeast Dog Scouts kicked off the Idita-Read for 2013. School Librarian Crystal Dow began the assembly celebrating the birthday of Dr. Seuss on Read Across America Day, then quickly transformed into a musher for the Idita-Read Kickoff. Children from the Red, Blue, Green and Purple teams met their Dog Scout Mascots and walked through an arch of snowshoes to start the reading race. During the 2012 Idita-Read, Tremont School students logged 103,216 minutes or 1,720 hours of reading.
Also on Friday morning, Idita-Read teams comprising fourth- and fifth-graders from Mount Desert Elementary School kicked off the Idita-Read in the Northeast Harbor Library’s children’s room. Children’s Librarian Eilleen MacLean is coordinating the project at the library with the elementary school educators. Three classes are participating this year: Ms. Gray’s green team, The Juggernauts; Ms. Taylor’s purple team, The Purple Paws; and Ms. Tripp’s red team, The Red Rangers. The Idita-Readers were all smiles as they adored their team mascots and received a book to get them started on the reading race.
The Downeast Dog Scouts are sponsoring an Idita-Read Team again this year at the Blue Hill Library. Children’s Librarian Pat Horton and Pier Carros of the Downeast Dog Scouts are coordinating the library’s Blue Hill Extreme Readers team.
This year, the outer island schools on Islesford and Frenchboro are participating in the Idita-Read. Educators Donna Isaacs and Lauren Simmons are organizing the Ashley Bryan School Mushers on Islesford. Frenchboro educator, Ashley MacCaslin will be coordinating the Idita-Read Project at the school on Frenchboro. All of the students are quite excited about reading their way from Anchorage to Nome.
Downeast Dog Scouts Troop 159 is an affiliate of the Dog Scouts of America in Hancock County that promotes responsible dog ownership, bringing people and dogs together to learn, socialize and help in the community. Reading is the cornerstone of all learning and many of the dogs in the troop are Reading Education Assistance Dogs. The Idita-Read is a fantastic project for a group that loves dogs, the outdoors and the promotion of positive canine relationships through education and reading with children.