Race Brook School students and their families spent the past three weeks reading one book in unison. Library Media Specialist, Lisa Mitchals worked with Reading Consultant Kelly Michel to introduce the program ‘One School One Book’ to the school in February, distributing the book Friendship According to Humphrey, which was about being a good friend and teamwork. “It’s something to help foster the love of reading and make that home-school connection stronger and commit to the community of readers,” says Mitchals. “It was really successful. The kids had fun.”
She said that finding a book for that would appeal to first graders and sixth graders was challenging. Each Race Brook School family got a copy of the book and at night, the family was supposed to sit and read together.
“We have an Instagram account for Race Brook families and they could upload pictures of themselves reading. We created a bulletin board of families reading together,” she says. In the morning after reading, the students came back to school and had a question and discussion about the chapter led by the classroom teachers.
Read to Them, the organization that promotes One School One Book, educates families and schools on the benefits and importance of reading aloud at home with the belief that children who are read to learn to read more easily and become better readers. They meanwhile gain literacy skills that provide the basis for a lifetime of learning and productivity.
“We had great participation – the kids were really excited about it. We started the program off with a kick-off assembly where we revealed the book. Every day we made an announcement, giving a little hint about what was going on,” she says. Students and their families read the 15-chapter book over the course of three weeks.
The culminating event was for younger students to get together with their older buddies and re-read a chapter together. “We had a Twitter feed going on and were using Google Classroom and asked questions about how Humphrey expressed friendship and how can you do the same in your life? The older kids were working with the younger kids on their Chrome Books – we’re a 1:1 school – to answer those two questions. In the library on the Smart Board, the Twitter feed was rolling through,” Mitchals explains. “In the gym, we set up team-building activities based on Minute to Win It and the kids worked together with their buddies to solve whatever was going on at that table. We had about 16 tables set up.”
Since RBS has a large number of families whose first language is not English, they wanted to create a way for those students to be read to. “We had people in our school and in our community read a chapter and I uploaded it onto our website so those EL families who couldn’t read to their children could go online and click and have the chapter read to them. We had the police department, the fire department, the children’s librarian at Case Memorial Library, our superintendent, our security guard, it was really cool!” Mitchals says.
She has since added the rest of the series of Humphrey books to the library and says she can’t keep them on the shelves. “We’ll absolutely be doing this again. The kids already want to know what we’re doing next year,” Mitchals says.