Saturday, September 23, 2023

Yes they’re in detention, but these juveniles have something to be proud of

VIRGINIA BEACH — Students at the Virginia Beach Juvenile Detention Center were one of four participating schools across 29 states to capture a first prize in the 2018 Unbound Read-A-Thon.

During the month of February students at the VBJDC read a total of 1,739 biographies, which was good for third place, while finishing first for the total number of minutes they read.

“Unbound offers students — many of whom have been reluctant readers — the chance to read without fear of failing or being laughed at,” said Wendy Voliva, media and communications coordinator for the Virginia Beach Department of Human Services. “The program helps to promote the idea of a life-long love of reading.”

Scholastic Inc. provides books to each participating facility. The students can select titles from the center’s library. They use cards to self-report the name of the book or books they read, as well as recording the total time spent reading. Teachers and staff then verify the information.

“For some of our residents, they admit that this is the first time that they ever read a book on their own, cover to cover,” Voliva said. “For others, they discover a reading series that they have to complete.”

In addition to the Unbound Read-A-Thon, the center has a Sunday reading program and once a week there’s a 25-minute silent reading time that takes place in the classroom.

Another bulletin board from 2017 at the Juvenile Detention Center (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Virginia Bech Human Services)

During the contest students who read the most each week are rewarded with a snack-pack. At the end of the contest everyone who participated takes part in a ceremony and gets to attend a pizza party.

Voliva said some of the other programs the center takes part in include the National Arcade Challenge, an Hour of Code event, and an engineering challenge called Destination Imagination.

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