Earlier this year, Kate Lewis at Denton Elementary, did her own version of One Book One School. Several have asked about her program and would like to model it next year. Thanks, Kate, for sharing!
The seed was first planted when I attended a Scholastic Reading Summit last summer. I heard John Schumacher (Mr.Schu) present a wonderfully entertaining book talk, and he spoke at length about Crenshaw, by Katherine Applegate. He also talked about books that had been used for the One School, One Book program.
I was intrigued, so I bought a copy of the book and visited this site: http://readtothem.org
I read everything on their site, searched the net for other schools and what they had done, and then I contacted them. It didn't take long to realize that there was no way we could afford to use their program and buy the books for every single kid at my school. So I compromised. I first met with my principal and flushed out the ideas running through my brain. Then I made a list of activities I could do with a book, and I looked at some of the popular ones other schools had tried.
Although Crenshaw is a chapter book, I thought that all grade levels could read it during their read aloud time. The chapters are very short, the themes are universal, and many of our students could identify with them: homelessness, hunger, family bonds, imaginary friends.
I knew I couldn't afford a copy for every single kid, so I got one for every classroom teacher, staff member, and administration. I tried to include everyone. Our books were all provided through a Donors Choose grant that I wrote just before school started. It was my first attempt at a Donors Choose Project, and luckily it was funded pretty quickly. Then I made a tentative reading timeline for the school to follow and introduced it at our first staff meeting. Here's what else I can remember that we did with the book:
I paired it with books that had similar themes and shared those lesson plans with teachers and suggested other titles that went along with Crenshaw
And I can't remember what else I did.......but I think I will do it again next year with a different book..... probably a picture book and pair it with an author visit, maybe with a heritage theme.
A school-wide reading incentive program would meet the accomplished and distinguished indicators on Standard 4, element C of the SLMC evaluation.
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