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(November 2017 Newsletter) One School, One Book Highlights Reading Fun

By Nhan Pham

CASCADE – Through September and early October, Cascade Elementary School took part in a special program called One School, One Book. Using some funds from a $10,000 grant for the National
Title 1, Part A, Academic Achievement Award from the prior year, Cascade purchased copies of “The
BFG” by Roald Dahl, the title of which stands for “Big Friendly Giant” as readers of the classic soon learn. Students in every classroom grades kindergarten through 4th grade are sent home with the book.

From there, the literary magic happened. The main focus of this program is to promote literacy for students. Because every student now had a copy of the same book, they all could participate in a school-wide reading event. During One School, One Book, students had the same reading goals for “The BFG.” Regardless of the grade, each student had the same chapter requirements at a given time.

Younger students could receive help from their parents to read the book aloud, which encouraged family
storytime at home.

“I thought it was fantastic to get kids excited about reading at every grade level,” said Cascade Principal Kim
Browning.

“The BFG” was a real hit throughout the school. Browning said students talked about the book enthusiastically in the hallways, trying to predict what was going to happen next in the plot. There
were “The BFG” trivia questions during lunch.

But best of all for the students – this was all for fun. Students did not have to worry about a giant-sized test at the end or anything of that sort. Instead, all classrooms took part in their own activities, and there
was a school assembly to celebrate “The BFG.” Cascade even showed “The BFG” movie in the gym as a school event, drawing in more than 300 people to come view the film.

Parents loved the program as well. “I think this should be done 3-4 times per year! Having the whole
school continually engaged about one book (everyone at their respective understandings and imaginations) is hard to replicate in terms of educational value. PLEASE do this again, and PLEASE don’t wait till next year,” one parent commented on the survey. In particular, parents appreciated that it got their children thrilled about reading every day.

“I thought it was great and it made my daughter excited to read at home every night!” another survey response stated. Browning said the feedback for this program was overall excellent. “The BFG”
proved to be a delightful story for the students. 

For one thing, the students found it funny when the adults had to imitate the book’s characters when
reading lines out loud. The students even became quite fluent with the book’s made-up words like frobscottle, and they would retain the vocabulary throughout the storyline.

“It’s fun to do this program with the entire school,” Browning said.

Next year, Browning said Cascade would like to take part in the program again, but there is no guarantee because of how expensive it is to put together.
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