An Update On AROB

This spring, schools in Little Rock and all across Arkansas have been participating in the novel Family Financial Literacy program, Arkansas Reads One Book.

What is Family Financial Literacy?  That’s when a whole school community, district, or state (!) reads a fine, quality children’s novel together, exploring its themes and sparking a rich community-wide conversation.  (That’s Family Literacy.)  But when the novel in question – The Lemonade War, by Jacqueline Davies – involves economics (in this case dueling lemonade stands), it allows schools and families to also explore some math and basic economic principles.  (That’s Financial Literacy.)  Put ’em together and you’ve got…Family Financial Literacy.

Reading the The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies, Arkansas’ mission to read one book has been widely successful with schools, parents, and students. Schools across the state have worked to explore and develop fun, story-related activities that both get the kids excited to read and teach them something about math and family economics.

Mabelvale Elementary in Little Rock, Arkansas sold handmade items like personally designed mugs and gave the proceeds to The Animal Village, a local animal shelter. One 4th grade student, Madison B., said of her experience:

“I really enjoyed the Lemonade War. My group and I were successful with our Snack Shop. The most important thing I learned was if you are creating a business, make sure you have a good product and keep track of your money.”

Treva M., a 2nd grade teacher, also expressed her excitement:

“As a class, we created a tri-fold poster. We made both pink and yellow lemonade. We sold it for .50 cents a cup. We also sold Oatmeal Crème Pies, Twinkies, and chocolate dipped Oreos. We also raffled off a large can of Country Time Lemonade. Overall the students had a wonderful experience reading and discussing the book.”

Similarly, The Pointe, a day treatment facility in Little Rock where students receive both an education and therapeutic services, was thrilled to participate in AROB. What’s really amazing about the Pointe, though, is that although they were not at their home schools, students, faculty and families took concepts from The Lemonade War and ran with them. They staged their own lemonade war where teachers made lemonade with students as judges. Then, they sold the drinks to out-patient offices. Students made and decorated their own lemonade stand. By the end, they were able to donate $500 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Coordinator of Alternative Agencies, Janice Lehmann, expressed, “This project and The Pointe’s willingness to participate was a Win-Win situation for all. It certainly reached beyond the typical school building.”

Little Rock School District Superintendent, Mike Poore, wrote of the Pointe:

“I can’t make this up.  This adds to the pride we all feel about the support we have provided to The Lemonade War. These students are in some of the most challenged of situations yet look what came of their inclusion. Thank you for Janice for believing in this project and taking it to students at the Pointe!”

AROB on the Radio

Gary Anderson and Mike Poore Discuss Financial Literacy on Education Talk Radio

On Tuesday, May 16, 2017, Little Rock School District’s superintendent, Mike Poore, and Associate Director of Economics Arkansas, Marsha Masters, discussed the importance of a introducing the principles of financial literacy into children’s education.  They were joined by Read to Them founder, Gary Anderson.  The speakers explain that introducing literacy – both family literacy and financial literacy – at a young age helps to create the successful job-holders of the future.  Arkansas schools have followed Little Rock’s lead and undertaken the Arkansas Reads One Book program, in which every school reads the same novel, The Lemonade War, exploring school and home activities that celebrate both the emotional and the mathematical moments in the story.

The Lemonade War achieves Arkansas’ goal because the story’s protagonists experiment with financial literacy through the creation of their duelling lemonade stands.

Here are some highlights from the interview:

“That is the heart of the program- a good story that grabs your attention and holds your attention night after night, which is read aloud in the home.”
Gary Anderson, RTT Founder

“We recommend doing a fall read and spring read, and by doing that you create a pattern in disadvantaged homes. Some of those homes literally pick up on that pattern and do another book on their own. And then they’re off to the races.”
Gary Anderson, RTT Founder

“It’s not just financial literacy concepts that are happening in the book, but financial literacy concepts being incorporated into the everyday standards for literacy, mathematics, and science. So they can pick and choose.”
Mike Poore, Little Rock School District Superintendent

“There’s business readers who need this and there’s kids who need this.”
– Mike Poore, Little Rock School District Superintendent

“We gravitated toward that book because business leaders were worried about financial literacy and trying to come up with ways our high school students going out into post-secondary, so I said, if they’re really serious, we’ll tackle it at the elementary level.”
– Mike Poore, Little Rock School District Superintendent

“What they’re doing in Little Rock is such a model for schools across the nation.”
– Mike Poore, Little Rock School District Superintendent

TROB is Underway

Texas Reads One Book is under way!

For the third year in a row, the state of Texas has partnered with Read To Them to spread family literacy and establish the importance of reading together in their schools and and homes.   Dallas Cowboys head coach, Jason Garrett, jump started Texas Reads One Book by reading the first chapter of The Lemonade War, by Jacquline Davies.  All across Texas students and families have been grappling with the competition between Evan and Jessie Treski and their duelling lemonade stands.  In addition to assemblies, trivia questions, and in-school engagement activities, they’ve even used The Lemonade War to explore a little math!


Here are samples of Texas Reads One Book in progress:

DeSoto Students Participate In Texas Reads One Book Event

Deep Wood kicks off ‘Texas Reads One Book’




Slinging Books on the Wall

Students at Varieur School in Pawtucket, R.I. read Charlie Bumpers vs. The Teacher of the Year.  Author Bill Harley visited the school and all had a rocking good time.  Look what they did on the walls?  Students started with the venerable Charlie Bumpers (that’s him in the red flying in the center) and surrounded him with self-illustrated images of their favorite or recently read book covers.  See if you can see your favorite.  Consider adding such a wall in your school.  Don’t forget to share your images with us at Read to Them.  Students at Varieur School are certainly living the culture of literacy!

Check out Varieur’s Charlie Bumpers painting video!

The Diversity Gap

At long last, a new posted entry for the Counterpane – Read to Them’s blog, the place where you can read about and discuss the art of reading aloud and the joys of family literacy. Eager to see more diverse titles in children’s literature?  There are some awfully good ones out there, but read on to see where the real gap lies.  And join the conversation…

Dancing With Humphrey

Read to Them staff had the pleasure of attending a highly anticipated book reveal at South Anna Elementary school in Montpelier, Virginia. Cheers of excitement suffused the entire gymnasium as students were eager to see exactly what their #1school1book novel would be for the next several weeks. You can watch the video below to experience and dance with Humphrey and rock out with the children of South Anna Elementary school. It was truly a well-constructed assembly and book reveal. Congratulations to Hillary Billingsley and her team at South Anna Elementary school.

Our First ODOB Newsletter

Our very first One District One Book Newsletter is finally here! This first issue of the One District One Book newsletter spotlights two districts that have succeeding in spreading family literacy throughout their community. It also includes a link to a featured article in the AASA newsletter. Districts that read together, grow together. “The greatest oaks have all been little acorns.”

Literature vs. Racism

Five teenagers defaced a historic black schoolhouse in Ashburn, Virginia. Sad? Yes. Jailtime? No. The judge and prosecutor sentenced them to twelve months of book reports instead of jailtime! And what a reading list they created! Can literature help open the eyes and change the minds of these five miscreants? Read all about it in the New York Times story here.


Read to Them‘s One District, One Book program is featured in the new February issue of AASA’s School Administrator.

“You’re the man with the books!”  That’s what kids in Irving, TX say when they see dynamic Irving ISD Superintendent José Parra.


The article highlights the work of…

Lake Hamilton ISD Superintendent Steve Anderson in Pearcy, Arkansas.

Irving ISD Superintendent José Parra in Irving, TX.

Ponca City Public Schools Superintendent Dave Pennington in Ponca City, Oklahoma.



“We started getting pictures sent in by parents on Facebook, at home with their children reading about Humphrey…We had not only mom and dad reading, we had aunts, uncles and grandparents.” – Steve Anderson

“If I can connect them to an experience they can take with them for the rest of their lives and enjoy, then mission accomplished.” – José Parra

“Any time you can sit down with the family and turn the TV off for a few minutes and gather your kids up and read to them or have them read to you, that’s a positive.”  – Dave Pennington


You can read – and pass on! – the full article here


New Newsletter is Here

The newest One School, One Book newsletter is here.  It features details from the Read Every Day experience in Weirton, WV; an interview with Grace Lin, author of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon; and a feature on RTT‘s Multicultural Education Specialist, Maia Kling.

In our next issue, look for our newest feature, Tips from the Field, featuring hands-on tips and recommendations from participating OSOB experts.

Read the Winter Newsletter!