As a way of bringing families and the community together, Reagan Magnet Elementary School has begun “One School, One Book” with “The World According to Humphrey.”
Media Specialist Janice Wilson said the program is designed to create a shared reading experience across the entire school community. Each student got a copy of the book and the aim is to have every family read the book together at home.
The next school day there are follow up activities. Students went home with a letter that explains the program and a schedule of chapters to read. One School, One Book will last through October.
A kick-off was held in the auditorium at Reagan Monday featuring Executive Director of Odessa Arts Randy Ham, the Rev. Joe Weaks of Connection Christian Church portraying a custodian talking about Humphrey’s virtues and an appearance by Humphrey himself, portrayed by Reagan teacher Napoleon Armendariz.
Wilson said the idea was on a Facebook page she frequents called Future Ready Librarians.
“I googled One School, One Book and it came up with a company. This is what they do. They provided all the books. They provided all the materials for our opening and everything,” Wilson said.
The schedule allows for students and families to take Fridays and weekends off.
“It’s just a cute little story about a classroom pet,” Wilson said. “He goes home with the children and helps change their lives at home. … He’s a very smart hamster.”
The company that provided the materials provides a list of books and Wilson wanted to choose one that would be friendly for prekindergarten through fifth grade. Reagan added prek this year.
“One that Future Ready Librarians Facebook page, a lot of them said that this was a very successful title in their school. There’s lots of lessons, and after this book there’s a series of Humphrey books so there’s like five or six other books so if the teachers want to they can continue” from there, Wilson said.
She added that the responses from colleagues on the librarian’s Facebook page say the activity brings the community together from the home to the school.
The book was written by Betty G. Birney.
“It’s more like you have a common goal and everybody’s working toward a common goal and right now it’s reading this book and hopefully improving reading. My hope is that families will spend time together in the evenings because when my son was little, that was my favorite time of the day is sitting and reading. I know lives are busy and they have a lot of after school activities, but I just hope they stop and take a few minutes every night and read together as a family,” Wilson said.
Charlotte Maher, a 7-year-old second grader, and Rachel Martinez, an 8-year-old third grader, enjoyed the kick off and are looking forward to reading about Humphrey.
They both feel they all need to read the book and talk about it.
“Because then we could all talk to each other about the book,” Maher said. “If we see somebody at our school then we can say do you like to read Humphrey. Is it good? We could ask them that.”
Principal Wayne Squires said the school is thrilled to embark on this project.
“We’re one of the first schools to actually kick this off, so we’re extremely excited to see how it goes we’re going to start with just one book this year. … The kick off went great. The kids are excited. The teachers are excited and we hope are families are going to be just as excited when they get the book at home,” Squires said.
“… Reading has so many benefits, but when you tie it into a family project … you’re not only promoting literacy within these kids, but you’re taking the literacy home and then it’s going out into the community. We’re going to see benefits from that that we may not personally see, but the benefits will be there in the community on such a large level, so much larger than just doing it in a classroom at school. …,” he added.
Ruth Campbell covers education for the Odessa American. Reach her at 432-333-7765 or email@example.com