By Pam Dudding Contributing writer
Kids in schools all over the United States look forward to the annual One School, One Book event. In fact, over 3,000 schools participated in the recent “Read to Them” program.
Students at McCleary Elementary School had smiles on their faces with laughter that rung throughout nearly every room during the celebration.
The program’s website states, “Our mission is to create a culture of literacy in every home by helping schools implement our One School, One Book® program which encourage and enables reading together at home by providing every school with tools, resources, guidance, and support.”
Though this event takes lots of hours of planning for all the teachers and staff members, along with monetary expenses and the work of everyone to collect great giveaways for the kids, McCleary has promoted this event for many years now.
Missy Frazier, Title I Reading Teacher at McCleary, reiterates the purpose of this wonderful program is to educate families and schools on the benefits and importance of reading aloud at home.
“The whole program is asking parents to read aloud to their child because it is a worthwhile family activity and it better prepares children to be effective readers,” she said.
Statistics show that the benefits of reading aloud are remarkable.
“Studies have shown that reading to children helps them to listen better and longer, to build bigger vocabularies, to understand concepts better, to feel positive about both books and learning,” the website states, adding, “Reading a book together brings the added joy of building and expanding a sense of community among students, parents, teachers, and staff – and beyond. In some schools, bus drivers and custodial and cafeteria staff clamor to be included. And when a library or church or community group or commercial donor becomes involved, that sense of fostered community is exponential.”
This year, their book was The BFG by Roald Dahl.
“The BFG tells the story of a young girl, Sophie, who is kidnapped by a giant she sees lurking around children’s rooms at night,” Librarian Karen Jones shared. “Sophie is certain the giant is planning to eat her, but soon finds out she has already met the BFG – the big friendly giant. A very kind and loving giant who feeds only on disgusting snozzcumbers.”
“Sophie learns that there are other giants who gobble up children around the world every night,” she added. “Sophie and the BFG come up with a plan to capture the giants and so preventing any more children from being harmed.”
“Each family is given a book and the students are assigned certain chapters each night to be read aloud to them. Then, each morning when the students return to school, they are asked a trivia question and there is a winner from each classroom every day,” Frazier explained.
On Friday’s all-day fun event, students got to watch the movie of the BFG, make crafts, enjoy a snack related to the book, and jump in the bouncy houses and slide down its slide, among other activities.
As I personally walked through the school and taking pictures in various areas, there wasn’t a frown in sight. How uplifting!
Explained School Counselor Dustin Persinger, “As the kids read a little bit every night, and answer a question every day, it encourages them to read and to be active in their readings. They can read alongside their families and at the end of the week, they look forward to the many prizes that are awarded.”
“I think the students enjoy the celebration day the most, but they also enjoy the time with their parents and sharing the book,” Frazier added. “Teachers enjoy watching the children come alive with excitement over the reading and answering the questions. They can certainly tell who is participating at home.”
“When a whole school reads a book, there’s a lot to talk about it and our goal is to build a community of readers at McCleary Elementary School,” she noted.
Their crafts and activities paralleled with the book and the kids smiled so big, showing everyone their finished craft.
They made a dreamcatcher as the story had to do with dreams. They ate dream cake (mini muffins) and drank green frobscottle (punch with pop rocks) because that was the drink the BFG drank which made him whizzpop! (break wind). Some classes chose to make a special mixture of dyes in a bottle which turned colors to represent BFG’s good dream potions. And some classes made giant ears to replicate the BFG.
All students’ names were included in the drawing for prizes:
- Pearl Dudding, Cora Crowder, Sawyer Rutter, Elsa Elmore, Lacie Nance, Raelynn Stamper all won a stuffed animal and book that went together
- Lane Smith, Silas Templeton, Braxton Hibbitts won a family book of tickets to the June Derby
- Kaelyn French won a BFG movie
- Emmett Crawford and Lily Richardson won the Big Ears
- Kayla Storey, Maddy Hutchison and Emily Hash won books
- Jayce Huffman and Aaliyah Lane won the two nice bicycles
In addition, every student got a ticket to Sea Quest in Lynchburg for themselves and one adult.
“We would like to thank Sea Quest, Craig County Fairgrounds and Market Street Pharmacy for their donations for prizes,” Frazier shred.
This program provides the “literacy skills which are the basis for a lifetime of learning and productivity,” the website states.
It was also obvious at McCleary Elementary that it made the whole school lively and filled with contagious smiles and laughter.
A “huge kudos” goes out to all the teachers, staff and community members who made this such a fantastic event for our kids in Craig! Learning mixed with fun, how wonderful!