Lee Elementary and Knight Elementary held a school-wide reading event called Book in Common

SUBMITTED PHOTO: PEGGY GARNER - All Lee Elementary families received the book 'The One and Only Ivan.'

Lee Elementary and Knight Elementary are wrapping up a school-wide book club project called Book in Common, where all students in the school read the same book at the same time.

Lee students read "The One and Only Ivan," and Knight students read "Because of Winn Dixie." With the help of funds from the Canby Education Foundation, every family in each school received a copy of a book in their home language. They were asked to follow a reading schedule, with students finishing the entire book within four to six weeks.

"The idea of a family sitting together reading and talking about a book brings a smile to my face," said Knight Reading Specialist Jen Silbernagel. "So often families get consumed by day to day tasks that we forget to simply sit and enjoy reading. My hope with Book in Common is that families make the time to sit together each day for 10 -15 minutes to read together. This not only makes for great family time, it helps improve student reading as well." 

SUBMITTED PHOTO: JEN SILBERNAGEL - Students at Knight Elementary spend some class time reading 'Because of Winn Dixie.'

Both schools made effort to engage students along the way with fun activities. Each day they gave a trivia question about the previous night's reading, and are ending the event with a family movie night to compare the books with the films.

"Kids are loving it," Silbernagel said. "There was so much excitement in the building when books were being passed out. I have heard students in the hallways pointing out Winn Dixie bulletin boards and talking amongst themselves about the daily trivia question. Students have been bringing in dioramas that depict various scenes in the book which has brought additional enthusiasm for the book. Having something in common through the whole building has been wonderful for both students and staff."

HERALD PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - Students and families gathered at Knight Elementary on March 9 for a viewing of the movie 'Because of Winn Dixie' after having read the book.

The idea for Book in Common came from Lee's Reading Specialist Peggy Garner, who had experience with the activity in her previous school district as many schools around the country participate in similar programs.

"Reading aloud to a child has been shown to be one of the best activities you can do to help your child become a strong reader," Garner said. "It promotes a love for reading, good role modeling, and builds a child's vocabulary for the future. We encourage families to continually read aloud together."

She added, "Our students and families seem to enjoy this activity and ask, 'Are we going to do it again?' "

Garner shared the idea with other reading teachers in Canby, and she anticipates more schools possibly participating in the future. There has even been talk of a district-wide Book in Common.

Kristen Wohlers
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