EACH MONTH, students at Mount Airy Elementary go shopping for books at a unique bookstore in the school.
What makes the store so unusual is that the students don't have to pay for their books -- all they have to do to "purchase" their books is to read.
In return for doing extra reading at home, the children earn points, which they can use to buy books and magazines from the PTA-sponsored bookstore.
Part of the school's yearly reading incentive program, the bookstore rewards the children for reading outside school.
The theme of this year's program is " 'Sea' the World Through Books." Since October, students have been taking the role of divers, exploring the various depth levels of the ocean.
As they've accumulated reading points, the children have traveled up from the ocean floor, through the abyss level and the dark zone, through the twilight zone and finally reaching the sunlight zone and the shoreline.
At each ocean level, the students have explored the unique conditions and the sea life and plant life found there. As the program nears its end this month, it is focusing on the ecology of the ocean and how the children can help preserve its beauty and the treasures found within it.
The reading incentive committee, headed by chairwoman Christa Pusateri, started working on the program last spring. Pusateri was assisted by parent volunteers Debbie McKenzie, Debbie Zizzamia, Donna Diehl and the school's language arts specialist, Phyllis Sonnenleiter. Scores of other volunteers help each month, tallying reading points and staffing the bookstore.
Providing additional incentives to read, classes that had at least 75 percent participation in the program each month received a clue to identify a mystery sea creature assigned to the class.
After solving the mystery, the class is eligible to adopt a sea creature at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.
The reading incentive program, including the aquarium adoptions, is funded by the school's PTA. The school relies on community donations of new and used books to stock the bookstore.
For a young collegiate basketball fan from Winfield, "March Madness" just got a little bit better this year.
While most basketball fans will be watching the NCAA Tournament basketball games in front of the television, Nick Campanella will be watching the games court side.
The 15-year-old has been selected to be head ballboy during six of the men's regional tournament games played at the MCI Center in Washington.
Nick owes his good fortune to his godfather, Jay Marsh, tournament director for George Mason University. The university host for NCAA Tournament games played at the MCI Center this year.
As head ballboy, Nick says he'll "have a staff of six other ballboys" working under him each game. Nick says that this will be his first experience of being in charge, but one he's sure he'll like.
Responsibilities of the ballboys include dusting and drying the court floor and handing out balls to players during practices.
An eighth-grade student at St. John's School in Westminster, Nick says that this will be a "once-in-a-lifetime experience."
Nick plays for Winfield Recreation Council's travel basketball league and was selected for its all-star team.
Computer club update
The Winfield Elementary School Computer Club continues to be a very popular extracurricular activity, with 70 children enrolled for the spring session.
The club expects to launch a home page for Winfield Elementary School on the World Wide Web by the end of the month. The fifth-grade members have been learning software applications necessary to write and design a home page.
Pub Date: 3/13/98