Pictured is Ritchie Elementary School Principal John Jorden reading with fourth-grade students Mya Quinones, at left, and Keiryn O’Connel. Ritchie students are taking part in the school’ s new “Rockin’ Ritchie Readers” program.

It’s been a “rockin’” two weeks at Ritchie Elementary School thanks to a new reading initiative implemented at the school.

The “Rockin’ Ritchie Readers” program recently began in the school for grades K-5, and positive results are already being noted, according to Principal John Jorden. The program was developed by Jorden in collaboration with teacher Diane Hasson and staff members.

“Rockin’ Ritchie Readers” encourages students to read at home, and the ultimate goal is to improve students’ fluency, comprehension and writing ability. The students are asked to document the time they spend reading, which is specifically intended to improve their writing skills. The program also involves parental participation with parents being asked to sign off on the amount of reading time the students document each week.

“We’re asking them to read 15 minutes a day, four days a week,” Jorden said. “They can read what they enjoy, so it can be books, magazines, comic books, newspapers or online reading. We want them to chart their reading to include the title, author, number of pages and minutes they’ve read to include the writing aspect of it.”

Jorden said the students are asked to turn in their documentation each Monday, and they are then given a new reading chart for the week. He said 95 percent of the students have turned in their documentation in the first two weeks of the program, and students in fourth grade had 100 percent participation. Jorden noted that parents are contacted if a student does not turn in their documentation.

There are incentives for participation, Jorden said. If the program’s goals are met, there will be a celebration and other rewards including attendance at a Washington Wild Things game. Jorden said he is confident the program will be a success.

“We had a little girl read on a family trip for a full hour in her family’s vehicle,” he said. “We felt students weren’t reading enough at home. We want them to like reading, and we want them to read for enjoyment. I’m sure we’re going to meet our goals.”