Students at , and elementary schools will soon begin reading books their teachers, custodians and even their principals will share.
"One School, One Book" is "designed to share reading within the whole elementary school community," Gill media specialist Cindy Zervos said. "Everybody's reading the same book."
Gill and Longacre will read The World According to Humphrey by Betty Birney, the story of a hamster who lives in a classroom. Lanigan chose The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo, winner of the 2004 Newbery Medal for children's literature.
In her first year as Gill's media specialist, Zervos said The World According to Humphrey is "just a feel-good book. We wanted a book everyone will be excited about. It's light-hearted ... there's a serious problem, but everything gets resolved in the end."
At each school, every family and staff member will receive a copy of the book, thanks to support from the District PTA Council, Gill PTA and the Friends of the Library. Families are asked to read one chapter of the book each day, and children will be given trivia questions the following day, to encourage active listening.
"I like the program because it's putting a book in every home," Zervos said. "Research shows families play an important role in students' reading success."
She also believes the program will encourage students of different ages to interact as they discuss the book, and "pretty soon, you'll see kindergarteners talking about it with fourth graders."
The schedule includes a March 19 "read aloud" event at , which will include a library tour and the opportunity for all families to apply for a library card. Longacre's reading night at the library will be March 8.
At Lanigan, the school community will begin reading the book on Monday night, during an event that will include a treat and craft. Lanigan will also host a movie night to wrap up their program later this month.
Zervos is so enthusiastic about the program, she even has a hamster with her in the media center. She said students are scheduled to read to Gill students on March 7.
"I think that's a win-win... because all our students at Gill are on track to go to Farmington High School," she said.
Zervos said she hopes to draw into the program, so siblings at different grade levels would all share in the fun.
"It would be that much more exciting," she said. "Our goal is to have everybody in the house reading."
Correction: In the initial version of this story, the name of the "One School, One Book" program was incorrectly reported.