District News


One School, One Book, One Big Success

Posted on: March 25, 2016

The only thing better than reading is reading together. For the last month, Whitaker Elementary students, teachers, parents, administrators and support staff were part of a school-wide book club as they read Sharon Creech's poignant growing-up story, Heartbeat, together.

Reading was the thread that ran through everything at Whitaker, for the month of March. In gym, students ran (a theme in the story) and, of course, paid attention to their heartbeat. In art they drew models of running shoes and birch trees, significant symbols in the story. In language arts, they wrote letters to the author, Sharon Creech. At home they read to their parents, pets and little brothers and sisters. And at school, their teachers took time for one of the most powerful (and wonderful) ways to "grow a reader" -- they read aloud to their students.

Meanwhile, teachers used vocabulary words from the book for Whitaker's "Words of the Week," and students competed for prizes in daily trivia contests.

The book club was part of the national One School, One Book campaign from Read to Me, a nonprofit organization that promotes family literacy. Lisa Tenbarge, Whitaker principal, won a grant from the Good Catch Foundation to pay for the program.

"It created something exciting, and I think it will become a school tradition," said Whitaker teacher Michele Huber. "Our goal at the beginning was to get one more child to take an interest in reading, and we know we've been successful."