Clinton Elementary School: American Reading Company’s 100 Book Challenge

Through renewed expectations for every student, new tools for principal instructional leadership, and measured parent involvement, Clinton Elementary School is making certain that African American males are taking the first essential steps toward college and career readiness. 100 Book Challenge is the reading accountability system from American Reading Company that is built around the Common Core Standards.

Our Program

The program’s success at Clinton Elementary School is grounded in 1) renewed expectations for every student, 2) new tools for principal instructional leadership, 3) and measured parent involvement. Research shows that most students who are below grade level in reading are behind because they haven’t read enough. 100 Book Challenge changes this, as students are expected to read for 200 hours per school year and receive expert instruction from teachers in school and daily parental involvement at home.

With the nationwide emphasis on preparing African American males for college and career readiness, Clinton Elementary School is a timely example of transformational change that is actually working. Through the partnership with American Reading Company, Principal Rachel Ray has achieved measurable results in test scores. She has also ignited new, and essential, attitudes among teachers about their effectiveness and ability to close the achievement gap for African American males.

Counties Served

Lancaster and Laurens

Annual Cost

~$140,000 start-up cost per school materials & 30 days of professional development

Funding Sources

Title I, Title 3, AARA, School Improvement Grant (SIG), IDEA, 21st Century, Materials and/or PD from Operating Budget

Evaluation and Outcomes

The development of the program is based on the following research:

  • CPRE, Capstone Study, 2009. Any design program has two parts:1) The instructional design and 2) The plan for getting the design in place.
  • Hallenger and Heck, 1996. School leadership, principals in particular, is critical in developing and sustaining those school-level believed essential for instructional improvement.
  • Hammond, L.D., 2001. Create conditions in which teachers can teach well. That means providing the mentoring and collaboration time, the professional development and working conditions that allow teachers to use what they know and continually get better at their difficult and important work.
  • Stahl, S.A., 2004. The volume of reading that students do influences their achievement, as long as students are guided and monitored during the reading..and that they read books at the appropriate level of difficulty.
  • Darling and Westburg, 2004. Training parents to listen to their children read was two times more effective than having them listen without training.
  • Reeves, D., 2007. Within each school, data walls can be the focal point for the faculty discussion on improving student achievement.
  • Hall, T., 2009. Differentiated instruction requires teachers to be flexible in their approach to teaching and adjusting the curriculum, rather than expecting the learner to modify themselves to the curriculum.
  • Clay, M., 1979. One-to-one intervention for children who have problems learning to read is crucial to children’s later success as readers.
  • Quinn, Q., 2010. Preparing young readers for the demanding academic language and increasingly dense text structures encountered in content area reading promotes the thinking needed to be college and career ready.

Longitudinal and quasi-experimental studies have demonstrated American Reading Company’s ability to empower teachers to close the achievement gap and improve student reading achievement. This includes a 2005 longitudinal study of nearly 16,000 students in Philadelphia public schools and 1999 and 2001 quasi-experimental studies of more than 3,000 students conducted by Temple University’s Dr. Joseph DuCette.

American Reading Company’s offerings have been positively reviewed by the Florida Center for Reading Research and were found to have no weaknesses. In school after school that has adopted American Reading Company programs, student performance has increased—often dramatically. After using the program for one year at Clinton Elementary School, African American male reading proficiency scores increased from 47 percent in 2009 to 81 percent in 2010.

Grades Served

  • Elementary School
  • Middle School

Contact Information

Pam Atkinson,