Reading Together As A School Community
Engaging students in the Mary J. Tanner Elementary School reading curriculum has been one of the foundational goals for teachers and administrators this school year. To help encourage students at every grade level to stay active with their reading in and out of the classroom, staff have continued offering a creative program for every student to participate in.
One Book, One School, One Community offers each student, from Pre-K to the third grade, a book that the school reads or listens to together. It’s the third year students and staff have participated in the program, and Principal Paul Morcone credits the initiative with helping create a sense of togetherness.
“This project helps us establish a common language in our hallways that students can share with each other,” said Mr. Morcone. “Last year, I was helping students off the bus and noticed a group reading that year’s book to one another. Those are the moments we want to encourage through this program, and we’re excited to offer it once again to our students.”
The school provides a copy of the book to every student. To go along with the reading, students are tasked with completing weekly reflection assignments. Those assignments can either be a written response or a drawing that symbolizes something they read. Assignments are then entered into a pool, where a student from each grade level is chosen at random and receives Bee Bucks that can be used at the school store. Mr. Morcone says adding in the reflection projects helps encourage students to communicate about what they’re reading.
“While every student is either reading or listening the same book, every student will respond differently to the material,” said Mr. Morcone. “Reflection pieces give everyone a chance to see what passage stood out to their classmates, and that can help someone see the material in a new light.”
This year’s book is Frindle by Andrew Clements, and tells the story of a fifth grade student who helps bring classroom lessons to life. The books have been generously donated to the school by the Granville Parent Teacher Organization. While some students may choose to read the book independently, the project encourages parents to get involved and read chapters with their children at home.
“Especially with our younger students, this is a great way to get the whole family involved in our curriculum,” Mr. Morcone said. “There will be teachers who choose to read certain chapters or passages in the classroom, but if we can send students home with a project that can be fun for their parents to join in, then we are helping everyone achieve their goals inside and outside the school.”
Principal Morcone believes One Book, One School, One community has become one of Mary J. Tanner’s most popular projects for students. He sees this undertaking as a way to build confidence in his students, help them find a love for reading, and give confidence to the student population to be a role model for their peers.
“Having our older students reading or listening to the same book as our Pre-K and kindergarten students is really unique. The older students are encouraged to help a younger student with their reading. It builds a sense of community at a young age that can carry throughout each student’s academic careers.”