One School, One Book

One School, One Book
Posted on 11/19/2015

By Laura Arenella, Reading Resource Coach at Snow Hill Elementary School

Snow Hill Elementary School has made fostering a love of reading a priority.  Dr. Mary Anne Cooper, principal of SHES, believes that reading is the foundation upon which all other learning is created and that instilling a love for reading creates lifelong learners. Each year the school has had two reading incentives to excite early readers, one individually based and one group based.  These programs have seen tremendous success.

But how does a school develop a culture of readers that includes families?  SHES created a community book club called “One School, One Book!”  All families in grades K-3, including students, teachers, and staff receive their own copy of the same book.  Everyone follows a reading calendar each night to be…on the same page!  Families are invited and encouraged to spend fifteen minutes reading the book together.  There is also a trivia question for each night’s reading with a focus on vocabulary.  Every day trivia winners from each grade level are drawn and celebrated on the morning announcements.

This book club will come together three times this school year.  In October, students read two different Flat Stanley books.  These books were launched with a whole school assembly where Flat Gell, a cardboard cutout of SHES’ own Assistant Principal, Dave Gell, made his comical appearance.  Students laughed and screamed excitedly while watching a slideshow of Flat Gell photographs throughout the school to build excitement for the upcoming books.

The SHES community enjoyed the first book club.  “It’s a real book club!  I like reading the same book so we can all talk about it.”, said third grader Xzavion Myles. “I love it.  My second grader read to my kindergartner and helped him with the words.  They read together,” said parent, Sherri Freund.  Karen Eure, a kindergarten teacher, said, “The students have been really excited to come to school and share with their friends because they are reading the same book.  It has prompted a lot of enthusiasm.”  

There was great participation among students throughout the month of October.  The Haven House and C.A.R.E. after school academies also provided support of the reading for students.  At the end of the month all teachers had the opportunity to extend student learning by creating their own flat people or participating in other culminating activities.  The first few “Flat people”, mailed by Violet Harris-Blackburn, have already traveled to relatives as far as New York City and Ireland!  The love of reading is spreading worldwide through our families!

“One School, One Book” is a program through the company Read to Them, funded by the Title 1 grant.  The program is grounded on research that proves that reading aloud to children has many benefits including improved listening comprehension, vocabulary, fluency, attention span, and promotes a love of reading and books.  All it takes is fifteen minutes a day!

If you have any questions about the “One School, One Book” program at Snow Hill Elementary School, please contact me at (410) 632-5210.