By Debbie Adams
Mount Pleasant Elementary School has kicked off its 2021 “One School, One Book” program, in which the entire school reads the same book at the same time. This fall students and staff will be reading “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl. The reading initiative is designed to promote literacy from the school to the home. The program was organized by reading specialist Kristen Seth.
“All Pre-K through fifth grade classrooms are reading the book during the school day (by the teacher),” said Seth. “We plan to read two books each year–one in the fall and one in the spring.”
There is a national “One School, One Book” program in which each family is given a book to read at home. Mount Pleasant has tweaked the concept.
“We wanted to use this as a way to build excitement in reading as a school community, so we’ll be reading the books during the school day,” Seth said. “We are reading two chapters a day so it will take three weeks to finish reading the book.
“We had a kickoff event before we started reading the book,” she said. “Since we weren’t able to have a school-wide assembly due to COVID, we recorded most of what we would’ve done, then were able to share the video with classrooms to watch.
“Various teachers participated in creating the kickoff video, which included reading/acting out the first chapter and two Oompa Loompa dances. One of our fifth grade students played Charlie in the video. Our resource officer, Office Wertz, played Mr. Bucket.”
Mount Pleasant Principal Dana Stevens read aloud the first chapter in the video, introducing the characters—the Bucket family—and setting up the plot of the book. Children were introduced to several other books by author Roald Dahl that they might want to read as well and available in the school library.
After the video was shown in the classrooms, Stevens, dressed as Willy Wonka, and the Oompa Loompas (various staff members) delivered a copy of the book to each classroom and chocolate treats for each student.
“Students were given a piece of chocolate and the student who had the ‘Golden Ticket’ hidden inside received a prize,” said Seth. “After we finish reading, we will send home activities for families to do together that we normally would’ve had as an evening family event” at the school.
Seth says that the reading team, made up of the principal, assistant principal, reading specialist, librarian, Title One teacher, and remediation teacher worked together to choose the book and select the dates for the project.
“This is our first year reading a book as a school, so we wanted to pick a book that would really get the students interested and excited about reading,” Seth said. “We thought that ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ was a classic story for students to hear since they may have seen the movie before but never have read the book.”
The Title One reading program helped in purchasing the books and items for family activity bags. Food Lion provided the sweet treats.
A letter was sent home to parents announcing the kick-off of the “One School, One Book” event, the book that had been chosen, and the fact that two chapters would be read in school by a teacher or staff member each day.
“We will have a question of the day on the announcements for students to answer to help create interest as they are listening to the chapters.” Students who answered the question correctly had a chance to win another “sweet prize.”
“The students were so excited! What a fun way to connect all of our students together–by reading the same book!” the letter continued. “You can join in the excitement by asking your child each day what happened in the book that day! Also be on the lookout for some fun activities to do with your child after we finish reading the book. Thank you for helping us promote the love of reading!”