Auburn Elementary builds community through book
RINER — Getting everyone in a school on the same page can be a challenge, but the staff at Auburn Elementary School believe a good place to start is by getting them all in the same book.
On Feb. 21, close to 300 people gathered at the school to celebrate their sixth-straight year of completing the One School, One Book reading program with a meal and a variety of book-related activities.
In the program, designed to create a shared reading experience within a single elementary school community, the school provides each student’s family, as well as each staff member, with an identical novel and reading schedule.
The school began reading this year’s novel, Henry Cole’s “A Nest for Celeste,” on Feb. 4. The goal is to get families to spend 15 to 20 minutes a night reading together, school librarian Martha Parker said.
That’s exactly what Larissa Richards and her family did. Richards, the mother of a first-grade and pre-K student, said she enjoyed sharing the experience with her husband and two boys.
“It’s nice to have one book you all can discuss and get excited about,” Richards said.
While bringing families together is one benefit of the program, school Principal Marcia Settle said the program also brings the entire school together by providing all grade levels, faculty and staff with a common interest. During the program, casual conversations about the novel among students and faculty can be heard throughout the building, Settle said.
Along with what has become an annual celebration at the completion of the project, Settle said this was the first year the school had decided to provide a meal along with the festivities in hopes of making the evening more accommodating for families.
This year was also the first time that the novel selected had local ties. Author and illustrator Cole studied forestry at
Virginia Tech before he turned to creating children’s stories filled with his art.
“I like how that dude draws,” fourth-grader Breanna Snyder said.
Whether due to the pictures or the text, the general consensus on the night was that it had been an enjoyable story they had experienced together.
The Roanoke Times | 381-1643
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