Auburn Elementary Teachers Roll out the Red Carpet for a New Reading Initiative

Avondale School District Reading Initiative Designed to Engage Students on a Higher Level

Third, fourth and fifth grade students at Auburn Elementary in Avondale School District have a special opportunity to make history by naming one book to receive their school’s highest honor, The Gold Eagle Award. Bestowing the honor is the final step in a reading initiative called The Golden Eagle Challenge. Designed to broaden the depth of the students’ reading experience, the Challenge requires students to read three of eight books chosen by their teachers and then cast a vote for their favorite read. “The Challenge is a lot of fun and a great way for the students to find their voice when it come to discussing and reviewing what they’ve read,” said Auburn Elementary fourth grade teacher, Lori Sakalian. “The students already participate in book talks during class, the Challenge will take that to the next level – similar to a Book Club.”

Auburn Elementary teachers Lori Sakalian, Mary Kay Frank, Kristen Little, Melissa Fortino, Lyn Moore and Shari Williams dressed up for the red-carpet roll-out of the school’s Gold Eagle Awards

Auburn Elementary teachers Lori Sakalian, Mary Kay Frank, Kristen Little, Melissa Fortino, Lyn Moore and Shari Williams dressed up for the red-carpet roll-out of the school’s Gold Eagle Awards

The eight-week reading program was launched during a special assembly for the students featuring their teachers dressed for a red-carpet occasion and the showing of book trailers. The books, Hamster Princess by Ursula Vernon, El Deafo by Cece Bell, Get to Work Hercules by Kate McMullen, Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper, Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt, House Arrest by K.A. Holt, Who was Ghandi by Dana Meachen Rau, and I Survived Hurricane Katrina by Lauren Tarshis were chosen by the upper-elementary teachers in the building and reflect a variety of student interests.  Over the next two months, teachers and students will provide reviews and recommendations during the morning announcement broadcast throughout the school.  In addition, as part of the Book Club conversations, the students will be expected to summarize plot and discuss story elements and characters.

Sakalian likes the challenge for instilling a book club mindset in the students and for helping them develop a reader’s voice but also sees it as a way for the student to be exposed to genres they might not normally explore. “We considered many many titles when we were choosing the books – we really wanted a variety of content and story lines to take the students out of their reading comfort zone.”

Funding for The Golden Eagle Challenge was provided by the Avondale Education Foundation (AEF). Auburn Elementary third grade teacher Lyn Moore wrote an AEF Dare to Dream grant to obtain the funding, “we are so grateful for the support provided by the Foundation,” she said, “they recognize how the Challenge will help our elementary learners develop as lifelong readers.”

The Avondale Education Foundation provides funding for classroom enrichment and initiatives throughout Avondale School District. Since its beginning, the Foundation has funded more than $200,000 in opportunities for Avondale student from Kindergarten through post high school. Through Dare to Dream grants and scholarships for individual students, the group supports STEM projects, athletics, performing and visual arts, the reading and mathematics curriculum, student leadership and character development programs and much more. Learn more at Avondale Education Foundation Website.

About Rochester Media

Rochester Media publishes The Community Edge digital newsletter of recently posted articles from Rochester Media, a hyper-local news outlet covering all things in and around Rochester, Rochester Hills, and Oakland Township. Send us you press releases and news happenings to


  1. Lori is a wonderful teacher. What a great program for these young minds. Congratulations to your district and to Lori. Carole Baker/retired teacher from Cass Tech.

Speak Your Mind