The Literacy Team made it clear: The reading goals for middle-schoolers to reach by the end of the school year are pretty challenging.

  • 5th grade: 450,000 words.
  • 6th grade: 500,000 words.
  • 7th grade: 550,000 words.
  • 8th grade: 600,000 words.

But Hiawatha Collegiate Prep-Kingfield scholars and their families are good with challenges. That’s why many of them gathered at the school recently for the first Literacy Night of the school year. They wanted to learn more about their children’s reading benchmarks and how to support the effort at home.

“Ask your student what they are reading,” said fifth-grade teacher Hailey Karlovich to a room of parents and scholars, with support from Spanish interpreter Susan Sjoberg. “Set a time before dinner and before bed for reading with no other distractions, no other phones, TV or other screens in the background.”

Karlovich and other educators throughout the building offered lots of other helpful tips, too. For example, when a student delves into chapter books for the first time, YouTube can be a helpful resource. Many books can be found being read aloud online, which allows young readers to hear the words as they follow along.

“When they hear the words, they have a chance to understand,” Karlovich said. “That’s a really good way to start, especially if chapter books are a little bit harder right now.”

Scholars and parents are encouraged to reach out to teachers and advisors for any extra reading help they might need.

“We want to support every student reaching their goals this year,” Karlovich said.

The event also included a huge display of free, gently used books that Assistant Principal Gabriela Stiteler helped stud

ents dig through; free pizza; and Literacy Team displays with samples of reading exercises so parents could get a feel for what their scholars were learning.

Several literacy events will be held at each Hiawatha Academies campus throughout the school year. Contact your school for the dates of upcoming events.


Fifth-grade teacher Hailey Karlovich gives parents tips on how to support reading at home.

Hiawatha Collegiate Prep-Kingfield Assistant Principal Gabriela Stiteler talks to families at the Literacy Night event.