Monticello High School junior Jadyn Nelson is pictured at Pinewood Elementary School in Monticello with she is working on her Girl Scout Gold Award project. She is pictured with Pinewood students Harper Waaranlemi and Phoebe Figenshau.


Reading isn’t all fun and games.

But what if it was, Monticello High School Junior Jadyn Nelson thought.

A local Girl Scout, Jadyn turned to reading when looking to earn her Gold Award, one of the highest honors attainable by a Girl Scout.

Jadyn reflected upon her love of reading when she was in elementary school.

But in a world of video games and subscription television services with 100-plus channels, Jadyn questioned whether reading might be losing the battle for a chilsd’s time and falling by the wayside.

“Maybe they don’t know they like to read,” Jadyn said.

It became her goal to see if she could change that.

Jadyn turned to her former elementary school- Monticello’s Pinewood elementary School- and created a series of book activity kits that could be used to engage students and help them further embrace reading.

She teamed with media specialist Ellie Michaelis on the project, while gifted and talented resource teacher Amy Klatt allowed Jadyn to test the project on some of Pinewood Elementary School’s brightest students.

The idea behind the book kits is rather simple, Jadyn said.

“The kits are in grab-and-go bags that kids can check out of the library and take home with them,” she said.

Jadyn says she initially created reading kits and brain-stormed with media specialist Ellie Michaelis on what the kits would look like.

The kits featured items such as activity sheets and game boards that paralleled events in the featured books.

“We started out with five books. There were two activities for each book,” Jadyn said.

When it came time to test the reading kits, Amy Klatt was eager to have her talented and gifted students participate.

Third, fourth, and fifth were chosen for the trial because children in those grade levels are at a critical point in their development where they start realizing if they like reading or not, Klatt said.

The kits, Klatt said, could help students become more interested in reading.

“And the activities can help hold their interest,” she said.

It was an exciting day when students began reading books and using the activities that Jadyn developed. 

Amy Klatt’s classroom was alive with activity and students were engaged.

“It was really exciting,” Jadyn said.

“A lot of time and work went into this,” said Jadyn, who estimated that she put about 80 hours into the project.

“What was most rewarding was seeing kids smiling and understanding something I put so much work into,” Jadyn said.

Based on the initial response to the book kits, the book kits could be available to the entire school. They could be checked out through the media center.

“We think its great that Jadyn wanted to combine literature in her project and that she chose to come back to Pinewood to collaborate with people on her project,” Amy Klatt said.


Jeff Hage is the editor of the Monticello Times newspaper in Monticello, Minn. He came to Monticello after seven years at our sister papers in Princeton and Milaca.

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