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Nikiski North Star Elementary School (Nikiski, AK)
The Trumpet of the Swan, by E.B. White – February, 2009
I just want to let you know that this past February, 2009 our school, Nikiski North Star Elementary School in Nikiski, Alaska, participated in the “One School, One Book” program. We read the book Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. I was the pre-kindergarten teacher and librarian at Nikiski North Star as well as being a parent of children in the school.
What a great program this is. My four year old pre-kindergarteners each got a copy and took it home to read with their family. I did have several children that did not have family read the book to them so I made a point of reading the chapter from the day before (not to spoil the next chapter for children having it read to them at home) aloud in class. This helped the little ones without a reader at home and it helped the other children firm up their knowledge of each chapter. Our school had a question every day and children could write in the answer with prizes for winning answers. All my students were able to participate and they truly looked forward to our read aloud time. Even with four year olds we had great discussions about animal abuse, learning how people can change, helping others, etc.
My own children at home loved the book and we had wonderful family discussions. The book was such a hit that my one daughter was earning money and she saved enough and, with my blessing, brought home a Beagle puppy!
Next my family wants to read Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White but I will put my foot down about bringing home a Trumpeter Swan. Instead I think we’ll just drive out to the lakes and watch them in the wild!
Thanks for developing such a great program to bring family/school/and books together. What a wonderful way to instill a love for reading. I’ve requested to be on the committee at Nikiski North Star to help select the next book we read for Love of Reading Month in February, 2010!
– Denise Cox, Librarian, Nikiski North Star E.S.
Apple Glen Elementary School (Bentonville, AR)
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, by Kate DiCamillo – February, 2009
What a wonderful time we have had over the past month with our reading of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane! We hope you have enjoyed reading with your child and enjoyed our chosen story. The students have been so excited about the book, the trivia questions, the prizes, and the art in the halls. I would like to thank Kelly Beringer and the team she put together to help her with the scenery and the display case. The visuals she and her helpers have put up have really added to the student’s excitement about the book. We have had some very positive feedback regarding the One School, One Book program. We have included some of the comments from parents and students.
“We LOVE this book. As I read the book to her every night, she always has this intense look on her face. I can see all of the suspense and emotion cross her forehead as we read what happens next! She always asks questions if she doesn’t understand something. We predict what is going to happen next and laughed and laughed over Edward being dressed up like a girl in last night’s chapters. This is a great program!”
“We were very excited about this program. Edward’s story is very interesting and…involves parents and kids. We love to see this kind of project in the future too.”
“We like your concept of One School One Book. Kids are enjoying reading with their parents. Even parents are enjoying the story because the selection is…wonderful for all. Thanks for encouraging the kids to read for fun.”
“Each night we read a chapter or two from a book. Usually I hear a complaining voice asking, “How many more pages?” With Edward Tulane, I hear a pleading voice asking, “Just one more chapter…please it’s so good. I want to see what happens.” This has been a wonderful reading experience with my child. We’ve really enjoyed this program.”
“I think this is so cool. I like the story, it is awesome.” Ryan – Grade 4
“I turn the TV off when I am reading this book, it is that good.” Rosa – Grade 4
“It is a great experience. It has taught me if you don’t love anyone you aren’t going to get the respect you deserve. My dad likes it too. My mom and dad were excited when I brought it home.” John Robert – Grade 2
Thank you all for helping to make this a successful program and one that students have truly enjoyed. We look forward to continuing the tradition next school year.
– Lisa St. John, Principal, Apple Glen E.S
Northumberland Elementary School (Northumberland, VA)
I am a jogger and most of the year I jog alone on the back roads of the county. But, once a year I join 2000 other joggers and run a half marathon race in Williamsburg. That’s what One school, One Book is like. After the run everyone has run the same course and you talk about it for the whole year when you see one of the runners.
It’s a great way to get support for the school system as the Board of Supervisors, School Board members and community all join in.
– Clint Staples, Superintendant of Schools, Northumberland, VA
Auburn Elementary School (Auburn, VA)
We had great success with our first One Book, One School venture. We read The Trumpet of the Swan. During the month before the actual reading of the book, we held a family literacy night and modeled for parents ways to read aloud to their children. We talked about the advantages and the skills that children acquire by listening to stories read aloud. We launched our reading month with a school assembly. For the assemble we made a power point of beautiful trumpeter swans downloaded from the internet. This was shown on a large screen as a trumpet player from our high school played Taps, Reveille and Mess Call. We also downloaded the call of the trumpeter swan and played it after the trumpet played finished. Children and parents alike were excited about reading together. Parents were surprised that they were to keep the books. The halls were filled with “swan talk” and teachers were amazed at the number of children th! at knew the answer to the daily trivia question. During the month we read the book, parents made swan magets, which 5th grade students sold and money was sent to the Trumpeter Swan Society. As a culminating activity, we had a Swan Celebration. All families were invited to the school to make origami swans, play swan board games, view swan web sites on the internet, and decorate swan cookies. Parents and children were asking when the next One Book, One School book reading would take place. The positive feedback we received made this activity one of the highlights of our school year.
Thank you for your help in launching our first All School Read To Them event. We are already planning next year’s event.
– Jane Farmer, Auburn Elementary School, Riner, VA
Double Eagle Elementary School (Albuquerque, N.M.)
The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo – Spring, 2008
We LOVED doing this activity. This was our first attempt in doing something like this and can see right away that we will continue with it throughout years to come. The children really enjoyed having the opportunity to answer the questions that were asked over the intercom in the mornings and enjoyed the classroom assignments that went along with the book. We had a school wide Despereaux day in which we had a parade and parties in our classroom. Our cafeteria even changed their menu to serve food that went along with the story on this day. It was great! The parents enjoyed the reminder of how important it is to read aloud to their children. We have a few stories that worth passing onto you. We had a father that had to stay late at work on night and was going to miss the reading with the family so he called and had the family put him on speaker phone so he would not miss the reading for the night. We had families that went out of town during the reading of the month and would e-mail their answers to the trivia questions back to their teachers so they could still be part of the book. I had a lot of parents thank us for the memories that was created by this project and how it was a great family activity. Some will continue reading aloud throughout the summer as they have already purchased other books as a family
– Troy Hughes, Principal. Double Eagle ES
William F. Fox Elementary School (Richmond, VA)
“I absolutely LOVE the program both from an educators point of view and as a PARENT. In today’s school world there are so many wonderful things that make us all individuals and different–which is a good thing, but One School, One Book brings us together with one common experience that we ALL can share. The experience of sharing the book opens up so many levels of conversation between students, teachers and staff, that it really brings us together as one. I love walking through the halls/cafeteria during the month because all of the students want to talk with me about the book, the trivia questions, about what I think, what they thought etc. It truly brings literature and unity to life!”
“As a parent, One School, One Book forces our busy family to sit down and enjoy some good literature. The conversations, family jokes, and time for inferential thinking and discussion brings our family together. My boys look forwards to our nightly reading–but more so when it is a One Book title. They love the idea that 450 students and families are reading the same thing they are and they look forward to knowing the trivia questions.
– Daniella Jacobs, William F. Fox Elementary School, Richmond, VA
Wakonda Elementary School
“I loved the culmination in the library where first the students discussed the book and answered questions about it. But when Mrs. Johnson read the last two chapters out loud you could have heard a pin drop. It was so quiet. I love reading moments like that. It is my delight to read to children just like Donna was doing but when you have full control of the room like she did when finishing that book. It is magic!”
– Kay Lueth, Wakonda Elementary School, Wakonda, S.D.
Bryan Elementary School
The World According to Humphrey, by Betty G. Birney – Fall, 2007
Addy, by Connie Rose Porter – Spring, 2008
I really enjoyed preparing for the two books that our school has read this year. The students liked being involved in the skits and receiving their books. When we did Meet Addy, every student received a cowrie shell necklace. I still see students wearing it and it has been months since we read this book. The trivia questions kept students interested and motivated to read each night. If students did not have parents that read to them, they sure found a way to have the book read to them or they read it themselves. I have had parents, teachers and students ask me when and what our new book will be. I have a dry erase board outside my office for teachers to write messages to me, but I got messages from students on how they liked the books and when are we going to do another one! Over all, Bryan Reads Together, has been a very motivating experience that makes me want to do MORE. If I were to give any suggestions to someone just starting this for the first time, it would be to “advertise, advertise, advertise”. We sent out notices of our kickoff, had a dinner, skit, and parent workshops for our first book. We had lots of parents show up. I look forward to continuing this next year. I am in the process of choosing a book and hopefully getting a grant to pay for the books. Thanks, Read To Them, for advertising your wonderful program.
–Stacy Walker, Bryan Elementary School, Hampton, VA
The Bryan Reads Together initiative has enhanced our students’ excitement for reading! This school-wide reading experience offered students additional opportunities to read and discuss a focus book with adults, parents and other students. It also provided students with real life literature experiences as they applied the literacy skills they are learning. Some of these literacy skills include speaking, listening, writing, vocabulary and grammar skills. Bryan Reads Together promoted an enjoyment for reading! Bryan Patriots continue to Soar to New Heights by Reading!
–Dr. Vatara Slade, Principal
The All School Read program strengthened the relationships among Bryan’s staff, students, and parents giving them something to talk about while having a positive impact on our students reading skills.
–Mr. Mike Stutt, Assistant PrincipleIt was a touching experience to see the students faces light up when they received their new books.
–Mrs. S. Walker, Reading CoachEverybody got a chance to read. Some people don’t have Moms and Dads to read to them or they don’t know how to read. This gave them a chance to have a book.
–3rd Grade StudentMy mom, dad, older sister (16), and cousin read together at home. That was fun!
–1st Grade StudentThe whole school got real (new) words in their brain. Hard words we learned from the story. That made me happy.
–2nd Grade StudentThe whole school became connected to the book’s character when we wore our cowrie shell necklaces. We all had something in common with Addy. It was as if we stepped into the Meet Addy book for a moment.
–Mrs. Jackson, Reading SpecialistI liked when I got my very own book and my family read together. I liked the Humphrey book because my family laughed together when we read.
–5th Grade StudentI loved how the books got the students excited about reading at home! They all were anxious to see if they knew the answer to the trivia question each morning and seemed genuinely happy to have “reading homework” each night – it gave them a chance to read together with their families! I thought Bryan Reads Together was a great program!
–Miss. Kelly, 5th Grade TeacherThe Bryan Reads Together program was a tangible way for parents to make an impact on their child’s reading ability. It allowed our school another opportunity to become a learning community. THANKS for staying abreast of current research. Reading the article in the “Reading Today IRA Magazine allowed our school to become engrossed on a wonderful reading adventure.
–Mrs. Jackson, HEAMy grandmother read to me. It is nice knowing that my grandmother cares about me that much to read to me. We laughed and talked about the book together.
–4th Grade StudentEnjoyed reading because it taught me things about the past. I learned lots of new words in our first book.
–4th Grade Student
- “It’s a great idea! My daughter wanted to read a chapter as soon as we got home, so we did.”
- We loved “time together and sharing the love of reading interesting books. The content of the book appears to cover issues we don’t typically discuss in our home (i.e. abuse), so we’ll be having some new discussions”.
- “The way the project was launched at the assembly grabbed the children’s attention! After reading a chapter at home each evening, the children can look forward to discussing it with their classmates and teachers. Involving the entire school reinforces the sense of school community”.
- “There is nothing better than sharing a good book with someone that you love!”
- “This is an excellent initiative. What a great way to get families involved in the reading process. I can’t think of a better way to spend quality time with my children.”
- “They feel great being part of something everyone bigger and smaller is doing using questions to facilitate talking about the book is great!”
- “This project will help strengthen the importance of reading to our kids.”
- “Reading the same book as a family, our house is a buzz with Shiloh and Marty”. The halls at school must be too!
- “There are so many benefits: through shared reading I will be able to better understand my children’s reading comprehension levels. We will have a common experience to reflect on for years to come. My children’s vocabulary will increase. My children will come to a deeper understanding of the story and relate to it through discussion. We will all have a time to look forward to sharing literature every night.”
- “My favourite part was when everyday we had a class discussion because I got to hear every bodies thinking.”
- “Our favourite part of the project was just reading together and sharing the feeling of the book.”
- “My favourite part was when they brought the police dogs. I really like when he bit the man’s arm.”
- “Spending time with my family and seeing a bunch of cool assemblies with dogs and information and stories about Shiloh.”
- “When the announcements asked questions and we got to answer them on paper dog bones.
- Greatest benefit – “developing a school wide interest in a common topic – dogs.”
- “I love how this project really pulled us all together to reinforce what we all believe and that is parents play a significant role in promoting reading and teaching their children to enjoy/love reading!”
Willyard Elementary School, Ravenna, Ohio
The Trumpet of the Swan, by E.B. White – February, 2008
We are having a great time with Trumpet of the Swan! We had our kick-off on Feb. 1st. We all met in the gym and teachers passed out the books to each member of their class. Our Superintendent was our guest reader and he read the first chapter to the entire school. You can see pictures of the event on our website if you want to check it out. Just click on the link to Trumpet of the Swan. I also sent a survey home in our newsletter and the feedback we are getting from parents is very positive. We are doing the daily trivia questions each day. At the end of the day I play a trumpet salute followed by a trivia question about that nights reading. The kids read to find the answer and then put their guess in the Trumpet Trivia Jar in the morning. We pick several winners each day from the correct answers. I definitely think we will be doing this again next year. Probably in the Fall and again in the spring. We will conclude our reading just in time for Read Across America on March 3rd. We will have a celebration assembly on that day. It’s been a fun project that I will do again. Thanks for your interest!
– Diana Kentner . Willyard Elementary School , Ravenna, Ohio
And here are some of my favorite quotes from the parent survey which went home in my school newsletter.“A wonderful way to spend time with our girls!” “Great idea for the entire school to do this!” “It’s a fun family project!” “Wonderful idea. My son and I have always read together before bed and this goes along with that and lets him know that others are doing the same!” “We are really enjoying it, very interesting it’s hard to stop reading! Thank You!” “We have really enjoyed this time spent together as a family. We look forward to doing this more often!” “This is a great book choice. I remember reading this book as a child! I think this is a wonderful idea.” “My son in the fifth grade is reading it to my daughter.”
This is the kind of feedback that every Principal dreams of! I have shared the idea with other principals in my district. We are looking forward to reading our next book in the fall! Thanks so much for your help and ideas about kick-off programs. I would love to pick your brain about other books you have done. I’m looking forward to the website changes. I’m already on the phone to the local costume company reserving an Indian and cowboy costume! Can’t wait! Thanks again!