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Episode hosted by: Abe Martinez, Ken Harvey

A podcast from Sno-Isle Libraries for lifelong learners with inquiring minds.

Episode 30: Third-graders Part 2, a community hero and book notes

Chapter 1 – Third-Grade Reading Challenge, Part 2

There is so much going on with the “Sno-Isle Libraries Mega-Fun, Biblio-Trivia, Rockem-Sockem Third-Grade Reading Challenge” that it takes two segments to get it all in.

Joy Feldman speaks with students during a third-grade reading challenge semifinal event at Hillcrest Elementary in 2019.

This literary trivia program for students enrolled in public schools throughout Snohomish and Island counties. Part 1 explores the origins of the reading challenge and the important academic and development reasons it is aimed at third-graders.

In Part 2, Sno-Isle Libraries reporter Abe Martinez continues his conversation with Joy Feldman, Lead Librarian for Early Literacy, and Jane Lopez-Santillana, Children’s Librarian at the Oak Harbor Library. They explore the origins of the reading challenge and the important academic and development reasons it is aimed at third-graders.

Feldman points out that while the program is focused on reading, introducing students to teamwork is a significant part of the reading challenge. “Teamwork very important,” Feldman says. “Teams with that do have a mix of abilities tend to do better.”

Jane Lopez-Santillana (with microphone) and author Patrick Jennings at the 2015 third-grade reading challenge finals at the Edmonds Community College Black Box Theater.

There can be benefits to the families of the participating students, too, Lopez-Santillana says.

“Many (school staff members) mention that the third-grade reading challenge brings parents in who they don’t otherwise see,” Lopez-Santillana says. “Parents mention they are having more interactions with their children. Students have said, ‘This is the first time reading in English in my house’ and ‘I’m reading to my little brother and he likes it so much he’s making me read every night.’”

The third-grade reading challenge encourages children to have fun and enjoy reading while honing their literacy and teamwork skills. After reading six books, children participate in in-school, semifinal and final Reading Challenge events. These competitive events are styled like a knowledge quiz bowl, testing the teams’ knowledge of the books.

In 2018-19, 1,334 third-graders participated on 193 teams from 51 schools across Snohomish and Island counties.


Chapter length: 5:51

Chapter 2 – Spotlight on a Community Hero: Shaelyn Charvet Bates

Shaelynn Charvet Bates

Libraries have long been part of Shaelynn Charvet Bates’ life.

Growing up in Snohomish, Bates says her parents would let her go by herself to the library, then housed in the Carnegie building, knowing she would be safe and entertained.

“I spent a lot of time there in high school,” says Bates, now a Lake Stevens resident. “I read a lot of stuff. I read a lot of science fiction, I read a lot of historical fiction.”

Bates adds that books, and the library, first caught her attention as a student at Cathcart Elementary where she discovered choose-your-own-adventure books. “You could read 15 different endings in one book and I just thought it was so clever,” she says.

At college to get a teaching degree, Bates says an “off-hand comment” by a professor put her on a path back to the elementary-school library and Snohomish where she is now, serving as school librarian at Riverview Elementary.

Bates says familiarity with library resources paid off on a recent cross-country family vacation by car, even though they were far from home. “We downloaded audiobooks from OverDrive,” Bates says. The result was family-time listening to and then discussing the stories.


Chapter length: 5:29

Chapter 3 – Book Notes with Marie Byars

Oak Harbor Library staff member Marie Byars offers two recommendations:

  • “Something in the Water” by Catherine Steadman, is a “fast-paced, twisty thriller,” Byars says.
  • “Our House” by Louise Candlish is the story of divorced parents take turns coming back to the family home to raise their children until one day the mother finds a moving van at the house and a new family moving in.

Chapter length: 1:38

Episode Hosts

Abe Martinez Abe Martinez is a free-lance storyteller with a background in radio and video production. In addition to the quintessential “radio voice,” Abe brings a strong commitment to community values and public libraries.

Ken Harvey Ken Harvey is Communications Director for Sno-Isle Libraries. Ken brings broad professional experience from his service with Community Transit, Sound Transit, Reno, Nev., and several positions in radio and TV.

Episode Sponsors

Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation The Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation proudly supports the innovative work of Sno-Isle Libraries through private donations.