By Karlene Skretting
Westwind Weekly News
The only thing better than enjoying a good book is reading and sharing that book with others, this is one of the ideas behind Raymond Elementary School’s recently launched One School, One Book Program.
At the March 2 kick off assembly, students and parents gathered in a dark gym to await the highly anticipated book title reveal. To the delight of many, L. Frank Baum’s classic the ‘Wizard of Oz’ came to life as Dorthy, Tin Man, Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, the Wicked Witch of the West, Glinda the Good and Uncle Harry danced amongst the crowd.
For the second year in a row RES is highlighting the shared reading experience in an effort to increase literacy amongst students and their families alike. The program will influence over 420 families in Raymond.
“What we envision to see is everyone kind of gathered around the living room couch with one person reading and then everyone talking about the book and their understanding, promoting comprehension skills and a love for literacy,” said vice principal Elaine Ross who spearheaded the assembly.
Parents are encouraged to follow the provided reading schedule at home as activities will take place at school throughout the month of March to supplement current chapters. For example trivia games will take place every Monday on certain chapters.
Many of the activities will focus around three reoccurring themes in the novel: showing your heart, courage and knowledge. There will also be engaging math activities, service projects and character costume days for students to take part in and better immerse themselves in the ‘Wizard of Oz’.
Thanks to a generous $3,000 donation by the Raymond Lions Club, the family of every student from kindergarten to Grade 6, as well as RES staff, received a free copy of the ‘The Wizard of Oz.’
“We try to keep all of our money local, it has been something that the Lions Club has always tried to do,” said Raymond Lions Club president Gary Segboer about the donation. He went on to point out that activities like this help to promote a lifelong love and appreciation for reading.
Aside from strengthening literacy skills, RES hopes that families can learn from some of the main themes that run throughout the book including being kind, following your dreams, and recognizing that home is a great place to be, noted Ross.
The One School, One Book program began in the United States and is still relatively new in Canada. One of the programs goals is to reach out and partner with community groups to give back.
RES plans to “promote a community connection by fundraising for the food bank and the Lethbridge Pediatrics floor,” shared Ross.
Students are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item for the food bank. Each time a donation is made the student is recognized with their name placed on a paper, winged -monkey that will be put up on a ribbon around the school.
The school will also be selling rainbow Rice Krispie squares to different classes on a weekly basis . They will also be holding screenings of the movie for students to compare the differences in the book and film. All of the proceeds will go to the Lethbridge Regional Hospital paediatrics floor.
A final assembly will take place on April 2 to wrap up the program. For more information on the One School, One Book program visit the RES website or readtothem.org