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Richland One Superintendent’s Book Club Challenge Kicks Off Third Year


Richland One Superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon’s Book Club Challenge is back for its third year and he has a new challenge for students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.


To become Superintendent’s Book Club members, students must read for 1,000 minutes (or approximately 17 hours) from February 12 through March 28. Book Club members will be invited to a special reading celebration in April.


Students will use Beanstack to track how long they’ve read and will receive special badges when they meet certain goals throughout the challenge.


If students collectively read for 1.5 million minutes (or 25,000 hours), the top elementary and top middle school students will have the opportunity to slime Dr. Witherspoon during the reading celebration.


“This year, instead of focusing on how many books students have read, we’re focusing on how long they’ve read. This change will allow students to take their time enjoying the books they’re reading,” said Dr. Witherspoon. “Our goal with my Superintendent’s Book Club Challenge is for students to enjoy reading, even if it means I get slimed or dunked in a tank. Our students have exceeded the challenge for two years in a row. I’m confident they will do it again this year.”


The Superintendent’s Book Club Challenge started in 2022 on Read Across America Day. The goal was for students to read 250,000 books. Students across the district met and exceeded the challenge by reading a combined total of 561,731 books.


Last year, the goal was for students to read 750,000 books. Students exceeded the goal by reading 1,046,651 books.


During last year’s challenge, students got some extra encouragement through video messages from local community leaders and celebrities, including Richland One Board Chairwoman Cheryl Harris, Columbia-Richland Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott and University of South Carolina Head Football Coach Shane Beamer.