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One Book, One School teaches PCSD students, parents and staff the importance of reading

John Muir One Book One School Thoreau Park One Book, One School



November 5, 2018



Students at John Muir and Thoreau Park Elementary Schools couldn’t wait to begin reading a new book this fall through the One Book, One School programs held at their schools.


One Book, One School is a school-wide event where every student and staff member in the building read the same book at the same time. There are also chances for students to participate in activities, answer trivia questions and win prizes based on what they read in the book.


This is the third year for One Book, One School at John Muir, which kicked-off in late September. The school community was invited to an after-school event to celebrate the school’s new book – “Friendship According to Humphrey” by Betty G. Birney.


“Our kick-off assembly was a lot of fun,” shared John Muir Principal, Karl Schneider. “We had reading activities, writing activities and other fun things for the kids that night to get them excited for the book. We also passed out the book that night to students and their families.”


Teachers and students read the book together during class and then students are encouraged to read it at home with their families to increase comprehension, he added.


“There are also comprehension questions we have students answer here during the school day and there are prizes that they can earn for answering questions correctly,” Schneider explained. “We had a community engagement piece this year for the first time where some business donated prizes. We had the kids do a scavenger hunt to figure out what the businesses were, then they visited those businesses, got questions and answered those questions for prizes.”


The whole school finished the book in about a month, Schneider said, to keep students interested and actively reading. The school plans to have another school-wide book this winter.


“Humphrey was just a nice book about friendship, problem-solving and helps kids reflect on how to get along with each other when things might not be going the way they want it to,” he expressed.


“One Book, One School is a chance for all of us to help students get excited about reading,” he continued. “At the simplest level, it’s just for students to have fun reading and encouraging them to read. They all seem pretty engaged with the book and have enjoyed reading it. It’s nice to hear them talk about it and ask questions about it.”

Thoreau Park had a school-wide assembly for their fourth annual One Book, One School program on Oct. 15, 2018.


Paper clues in the shape of lemons were posted around the building prior to the assembly to get students excited and start thinking about what the new book could be about.


At the assembly, teachers and staff performed a small skit from the book on the school’s stage. Students clapped and cheered when two lemonade stands were revealed, which was another clue about the title of the book.


After many guesses from students, staff announced the school would be reading “The Lemonade War” by Jacqueline Davies.


“This is a great program because everyone can be involved in it,” Kim Ryan, third-grade teacher at Thoreau Park said. “It is a little higher reading level, so we are encouraging our families of students in special education, kindergarten and first grade to read the book together. Every grade also has journal assignments adapted to their grade level. The goal is to have everyone actively engaged in the book.”


In years past, the school has read “Charlotte’s Web,” “The Chocolate Touch,” and “Friendship According to Humphrey” for the One Book, One School program, and students were entered to win prizes by completing activities and answering questions about the book.


The same goes for this year, Ryan said, with four different ways students can earn the chance to win prizes. Those include: completing a game board by answering trivia questions at local business in the community such as Parma Library, Outback Steakhouse and Olive Garden; answering questions about the book that are read over the morning announcements; taking a picture while reading the book; and turning in a completed journal with a picture of the student drinking lemonade.


Finally, the school will be selling lemonade during lunch a few days during the program to raise money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which supports families and funds research to find a cure for pediatric cancer.


“We are looking forward to getting our families and our community involved in this program,” she expressed. “We are just really excited, and we hope students learn to love reading and get excited about reading, too.”



PHOTO CAPTION:  LEFT:  Thoreau Park Elementary School teachers Kim Ryan, left, and Gillian Alarcon, right, act out a skit for students at a One Book, One School assembly.  The school chose “The Lemonade War” by Jacqueline Davies.  RIGHT:  PCSD Superintendent Dr. Charles Smialek Ph.D. talks with students at John Muir Elementary School about the book “Friendship According to Humphrey” by Betty G. Birney. The One Book, One School event was held on Sept. 24.