This year will be my third experience with the One School, One Book Program. The program is put together by Read to Them, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to have families reading together at home!
My first year of teaching was in a 1st grade classroom in Detroit, MI. It was a constant struggle to get parents involved in their children's education in a more proactive way. However, our reading specialist got a grant to have the One School, One Book program. The book she chose was Because of Winn-Dixie and the families loved it! The program was getting the exact result that it intended, parents who wouldn't normally read with their kids were reading with them every night and really enjoying it (who knew!). While this program did not change every parent's focus on reading with their kids, it did change some and that's huge!
On top of the families reading the book, schools are encouraged to have a daily trivia question or questions. During both experiences with the program, this was the case. At my current school they really hyped it up and the kids were into it! If you haven't read Frindle, it's about kids changing the name of a pencil to a Frindle. Kids and teachers all throughout the school were calling pens and pencils Frindles. There were also posters throughout the building about the book. During lunch time teachers volunteered part of their lunch hour to read to any students who were not caught up at home. Families filled out a survey at the end and many of them asked for a new book each month! (The program is intended to be for one book to be read over the course of a month.)
Last year I taught at another Title 1 school and they were doing One School, One Book for the first time. The book they chose was Frindle (another great book!) and while my parents did not get as involved in this program the school was very happy with the results. While I will be encouraging some of my parents more this year to read the book to their children it is not practical for all of my students to listen to a chapter from a chapter book at this time.
That brings us to this year. This year our reading specialist got a running start and chose the book and had it purchased for all of us in June! It's our summer reading and she's asking for us to get involved in writing questions. I recently finished the book, The Lemonade Stand, and it was very cute. It seems like the kind of book that all kids can relate to in some way. There are also a lot of topics that can be discussed with students from character traits to math concepts. I'm excited to see how it goes this year.