by SALLY KING
Brookview Elementary School Title I reading teacher, Renee Nedoma, has received a $5500 grant from Berea’s Education Foundation to implement the literacy reading program, “One School, One Book” (OSOB). All of the school’s students in grades K-4 as well as its staff and parents will participate. The OSOB program provides resources and expertise to schools interested in “building and expanding a sense of community among students, parents, teachers, and staff.”
To whet the reading appetites of students and staff, Brookview had an all-school assembly on February 25. Several staff members performed a skit portraying characters in the book, and teachers then revealed what “HAMPSTER-mania” was about. All students and staff members received a copy of Friendship According to Humphrey, written by Betty G. Birney, and story props were distributed. Although none was requested audio books were available to all families who needed them. As one of the school’s Reading Calendar items, parents and children were requested to read one-half of one chapter together on a daily basis. To enrich that experience, activities at the school were planned to coordinate with each chapter. Although Friendship According to Humphrey is written on a 2nd – 4th grade reading level, it provided a fun opportunity to motivate students and parents as well as to foster one-on-one time at home. In this way, younger students and those reading at a lower level were helped in understanding and enjoyment of the story.
Humphrey’s story is narrated by Humphrey the Hamster who, as a classroom pet, shares his wisdom as he seeks and learns life’s lessons. Humphrey’s sage wisdom coincides well with Brookview’s “Bucket Filling” philosophy and program. Throughout the book Humphrey describes his seven kinds of friends, and it is his narratives that provide parents with opportunities to discuss the trials and tribulations that arise in friendships.
Nedoma and her committee painstakingly pre-planned all the events in preparation for the implementation of the program. To spark interest and curiosity about Humphrey and his story, Brookview’s outdoor sign displayed a “Humphrey” poster. Posters were also placed in strategic areas throughout the school. The sounds of the music, HAMSTER DANCE, were often heard coming from the music room, and each school day in March, a trivia question was posted. The answer was not given until the following day so that students, teachers, custodians, principal, as well as the rest of the Brookview staff could CONVERSE throughout the day about the Humphrey question.
Cuminating activities during March included students, parents and teachers emailing photos of students reading HUMPHREY, TWEETING about the story, and taking selfies. Pics, emails and TWEETS were displayed on HUMPHREY’S WALL OF FAME.
Renee Nedoma’s goal with this literacy project has been to build a community of readers at Brookview and around town while still having fun!