As one of seven schools in Indiana participating in the “One School, One Book” program, every person at Mt. Comfort Elementary (MCE), including cafeteria workers, bus drivers, as well as all staff and students, received the same book "Lemonade Wars" by Jaqueline Davies. The books were funded through a grant from the Mt. Vernon Education Foundation. Each book included a bookmark with the reading schedule at the kick-off. The “One School, One Book” convocation included a staff skit with competing lemonade stands, a lemon character appearance, and a staff skit that had students dancing in the stands to the "nay-nay."
School activities such as math lessons, daily trivia with prizes, and surprise character visits will encourage all readers to participate. Every Friday, MCE will have a lemonade stand with the sweet treat available for $ .50. All proceeds will be donated to Riley Children’s Hospital.
Principal Heather Whitaker states, “When a whole school reads a book, there is a lot to talk about! This is the third year we have participated and have a lot of exciting activities planned for this particular book. We aim to build a ‘Community of Readers’ at MCE. A reading schedule was distributed which results in approximately 15 minutes of reading each night at home during the month of February. Children are rewarded for attentive listening and take pride in knowing and anticipating how the story unfolds.”
The “One School, One Book” program can have a positive impact on the entire community. Parents are encouraged to read the book aloud at home so the family can take part in the discussions. Parents play an important part in their child’s learning and development of a lifelong love of reading. A growing body of research describes the complex and permanent positive effects of reading aloud. One main benefit is that children learn to read more easily and become more fluent readers. Literacy skills provide the basis for a productive lifetime of learning. Parents set an example and reading together becomes a shared activity.
Principal Whitaker states, “Reading aloud at home is valuable because it better prepares children to be an effective reader while at the same time serve as a fun, worthwhile family activity. Reading professionals recommend reading material out loud that is beyond a child’s own reading level. It is also recommended to read chapter books aloud with older children, even when they are able to read by themselves.”