BY SALLY KING
Big Creek Elementary School’s third grade teachers, Heidi Demaline, Alison Berger, Jennifer Ditz, Cindy Frontczak, and Megan Peters, were the recipients of a $4,660 Berea Education Foundation Enrichment Grant for the 2015-16 school year. Their grant was used to implement “One School, One Book,” a literacy program from Read to Them, a non-profit organization that promotes family literacy.
“One School, One Book” was introduced to the school’s students and all certified as well as classified employees at a “Kick Off” assembly at the end of February. It continued until spring break. Big Creek’s entire school population of approximately 650 students was involved.
The Enrichment Grant enabled the teachers to provide each Big Creek student and staff member a copy of The World According to Humphrey, an introductory letter, reading schedule, and tips for reading aloud to children. Although The World According to Humphrey is written at a third grade level, all Big Creek students, families, and staff read the same book. Parents and staff were asked to read it aloud to students as well as read it silently with them. The interactive reading provided Kindergarten-2nd grade as well as IEP students an opportunity to enjoy and understand the story just as those reading at a higher level. In addition to “One School, One Book”, Read to Them also has a “One District, One Book” program as well as two and three book programs. Having several choices better provided the individual schools the opportunity to address their school’s needs.
The project’s primary goals as set by the third grade teachers was to increase family involvement and time spent reading at home, interest and positive attitudes towards reading, and reading achievement. Assessment of these primary goals was done through the use of a survey sent home prior to the program’s introduction and again at its conclusion.
To create a whole school connection, a wide variety of coordinating activities were planned to take place at school, at home, and throughout the community. During the one month schedule from February to March, parents were asked to read and complete activities at home with their children and coordinating activities were done at the school. To foster school pride and a stronger sense of community the school’s PTA media parent discussed the program through Big Creek’s Facebook page and Big Creek’s administrative intern used the school’s Twitter page to get additional information to the community.
Big Creek’s teachers are optimistically hopeful that in the future this program will become district-wide so each of the Berea City School District’s elementary schools can benefit from this program.