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School District 833 launches summer reading photo contest

Cottage Grove Elementary School student Luke Bartle is pictured reading at Mount Rushmore. The photo was submitted to the school district’s “Where is 833 Reading this Summer” contest. (Submitted photo)

Teachers and district staff face the same challenge every summer— how to keep students engaged during summer vacation.

“Our goal is that learning never stops,” said Madeleine Saxler, District 833 communications specialist.

Getting students to take time out from videos games or outdoor activities to pick up a book or review a lesson can prove difficult, so District 833 created a contest with a prize to encourage reading.

For the “Where is 833 Reading This Summer?” contest, District 833 students and staff are asked to take a photo of themselves reading over the summer and email the photo and a brief caption with their name, school and where the photo was taken, to the district at

All photos received between June 6 and Aug. 25 will be posted to the district’s Facebook page at

New photos will be posted online every Friday.

The photos with the most  likes by Sept. 1 will win a Barnes and Noble gift certificate donated by district staff.

Saxler came up with the idea for the photo contest during a brainstorming session with District 833 staff about ways to keep students engaged in learning during the summer.

Saxler said District 833 chose Facebook, rather than other photo sharing applications like Instagram or Imgur, because it provided the easiest way to manage the votes through the likes.

“It’s so easily accessible for people,” Saxler said. “It’s so easy for people to snap a picture and send it to us.”

Saxler said she could see the district doing something similar again next year because it’s a fun way to keep students reading.

“People love to share and people love to see what other people are up to,” she said. “It’s already been a lot of fun and I think it will continue to be popular.”