Read to Them Supers on the Radio


Here’s the Education Talk Radio Interview featuring…


Mary-Margaret Zehr, Assistant Superintendent, Watertown NY

Dr. Jose Parra, Superintendent, Irving TX ISD

Gary Anderson, Read to Them founder and Director of One District, One Book


Some Highlights…


“Our teachers were aching for reading a book, just for the sake of reading a book – and having fun with it.”  (Mary-Margaret Zehr)

“We were dying to find a way to engage parents…” (Dr. José Parra)

“We tried to connect every family – to every place a family might be.” (Dr. José Parra)

“I forgot how much I loved reading with my family.” (Watertown parent)

“Our Family Reading Night was packed – and all because of a book.” (Mary-Margaret Zehr)

“We went from 8% to 56% – parents reporting kids read books regularly – because of One District, One Book.” (Mary-Margaret Zehr)

“We’re trying to promote a culture of literacy, a culture of reading. We want to help parents engage with their children…where they can share an experience over the course of three weeks – every night.” (Dr. José Parra)

“We all talk about parent engagement, but we don’t know how to get parents engaged. Parents want to be helpful. We just have to show them how. One District, One Book has given us a mechanism to show parents how they can work with their kids, and help, and have it be an enjoyable experience.” (Dr. José Parra)

“We would often have high school kids reading to their younger siblings. One District, One Book was a great way to have more of a family experience.” (Dr. José Parra)

“We created a video series of local celebrities reading the chapters. The Secretary of the Army, one of the generals at Fort Drum, Commissioner King (Secretary of Education for New York)… We had our police chief read. We even had the firemen read in front of one of their truck.” (Mary-Margaret Zehr)

“Families tell me: ‘I got my family back. I lost ‘em to the screen. Now, every night we all look forward to reading the next chapter together. One District, One Book helped me get ‘em back’.” (Gary Anderson)

“It was really easy to capture our teachers, too. They loved it. They were behind One District, One Book form the get-go.” (Mary-Margaret Zehr)

“Gary gave me ideas about talking to local restaurants. If kids can answer a trivia question from the book, they’ll give out a free dessert or a free drink.” (Mary-Margaret Zehr)

“For so long I heard in education presentations to ‘work smarter not harder’ but they never told us how to do it.  One District, One Book showed us how to do it.” (Dr. José Parra)

“My son and I really enjoyed reading the adventures of Humphrey. We’re both sad we reached the end. There are several Humphrey books now on his Christmas list. It was something we did as a family every night – and loved.” (Texas parent)

One District, One Book is probably the best hands down program I’ve ever done in 21 years of being in the New York state educational system.” (Mary-Margaret Zehr)

“Once you do it. It hooks your community. Once you create a community of readers, you’ll see a change in your district. Just do it!” (Gary Anderson)

Three Supers Talk in Phoenix

Read to Them co-ordinated a group presentation on One District, One Book at the American Association of School Administrators national convention in Phoenix, AZ in February.

The session, titled “Superintendents Serve as Reading Leaders,” was hosted by Chuck Woodruff, the chief operating officer of AASA and featured…

Steve Anderson, Superintendent, Lake Hamilton SD, Pearcy, AK

Dave Pennington, Superintendent, Ponca City, OK and past AASA president

Mike Poore, Superintendent, Bentonville Public Schools, AK

Brad Reed, Superintendent, Great Bend, KS

Gary Anderson, Read to Them founder and Director of ODOB


You can listen to three short excerpts of what some of them had to say below…


Mike Poore, Superintendent, Bentonville School District, AR

Mike talks about his experience participating in seven years of ODOB in Bentonville!


David Pennington,  Superintendent, Ponca City Public Schools, OK

At the convention, Dave says, “The very last program we’d cut from our budget is One District, One Book.”


Brad Reed, Superintendent, Great Bend USD, KS

Brad describes the ten restaurants he got to participate in his community to support ODOB.  Waiters and waitresses asked student patrons trivia questions and rewarded them with free desserts.  Business ticked up!

Florida Schools Kickoff OSOB!

Here are two fine videos of Pinellas County, FLA kicking off One School, One Book in St. Petersburg, FLA.

Bay Creek Elementary School will be reading Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and you can view their Opening Introductory Assembly below.

You can also check out the local TV news story on One School, One Book at North Shore Elementary School – featuring the redoubtable Sally Baynard.

(Thanks, Sally.)


Bear Creek Elementary’s assembly to launch their One School, One Book selection- Charlie and The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.


North Shore Elementary reads The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney.

Mt. Comfort E.S. does the Nae Nae!

Mt. Comfort Elementary School in Greenfield, IN introduces it’s third One School, One Book selection – The Lemonade War, by Jacqueline Davies. Their P.E. teacher and the assorted dancers (The Lemon Heads!) danced the Nae Nae to a rocking house. Their assembly included a lemonade stand flash mob. Check out their website and quick inspiring videos here!

Principal Heather Whitaker reports that they are “stepping it up every year!” Rock on, Indiana.

20,000 Texans Read ‘The World According to Humphrey’

Irving ISD’s One District, One Book  is a movement designed to get an entire school community – including parents – involved in the joy of reading. Every Irving ISD elementary school student will receive a copy of The World According to Humphrey by Betty Birney. Following a shared schedule, the families read at home together. In the school, there are regular events that reinforce the reading and get everyone at school excited about the book. Each school will have different activities at different times throughout the three-week period so check with your librarian and parent liaison for more information. View video here.

“Knight” of Reading at North Shore Elementary School

North Shore Elementary recently held a “Knight” of Reading Under the Stars to promote family reading. Studies show that children benefit from having their parents read aloud to them not only when they are little, but all the way up to and through middle school. North Shore invited parents to bring a blanket and a flashlight so they could read to their children outdoors at night. Students performed, children picked out free books to read and take home, and a raffle ended the night. Sally Baynard, the gifted teacher at North Shore Elementary, tells us about the night and about a reading program that North Shore Elementary is starting in January, called “One School: One Book.”

One School, One Book, Chocolate Fun!

Jessica Sarver from Madison School writes,
“We just finished our One School, One Book project, and it was a huge success!  I would love to share some of the highlights with you!  You can also see the video summary of our project here.

To kickoff our project, we had a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Assembly.  You can see pictures from our assembly here.  Some of the highlights: Students received their books wrapped as “Waverly Bars” (our school name).  Students with a golden ticket in the back of their books were picked to play games. Our Superintendent came dressed as Willy Wonka, and brought the Assistant Superintendent and Director of Technology as Oompa Loompas. We read as a school, and played 4 Willy Wonka themed games (lickable wallpaper, blueberry squeeze, chocolate pie, and bad egg). During the month of October, we used the trivia you provided each morning and also took the Roald Dahl Character quiz at  We graphed the staff and student results of this quiz.

Our public library hid golden tickets in some of their books, too!

After we were finished reading the book as a school, we had a family movie night to watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”