York Avenue Elementary in Lansdale, Pennsylvania launched their first One School, One Book program earlier this year. Their new principal came from another Pennsylvanian school district that was a long-time OSOB participant. Needless to say, teachers and staff at York Ave. were quick to get excited about the prospect of reading aloud and bringing families together.
Corey Leibowitz, Reading Specialist at York Ave., cannot deny the impact OSOB has already had on her students and school.
“[OSOB] has brought the joy of reading to families and the excitement of the whole school reading a book to our students and staff,” Leibowitz says. “We hoped that we could give parents read aloud strategies with their children – and we did.”
During the 2021-22 school year, Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliot was selected for their inaugural OSOB. As the Reading Specialist, Leibowitz worked closely with her principal to choose the right book for her students and staff.
“We wanted to choose a book that would appeal to a wide-range of grades,” Leibowitz says. “For next year, we have selected El Deafo by Cece Bell. We have a diverse population of learners with disabilities and wanted a book that spotlighted that diversity.”
One of the highlights of their OSOB is playing daily school-wide trivia matches.
“The question is read over morning announcements,” Leibowitz shares. “Then the teachers will call down to the office and one day, we will take the first caller and another day, we will take the fifth caller. I love being in the classrooms and seeing the kids get excited – and how they get so quiet to hear the question each morning!”
With the opportunity to reflect on their reading event, Leibowitz advises that first time participants should plan well ahead of time. To Leibowitz, it is important to figure out what to do for bulletin boards and culminating activities well before you begin reading the book. Sparking the student’s interest in a book is the most vital piece of all, but with Read to Them’s plethora of “ideas and materials” the roadmap is made clear and fun.
As she looks ahead to future reading events, Leibowitz says that what she’s most eager about is a simple yet wonderful thing:
“Seeing the kids get excited to guess which book we’ll choose next. I love to hear them try and guess what book we are reading – I love that the whole school is reading the same book together.”