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Bonding over One Book

November 1, 2011
By GARRETT NEESE - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

SOUTH RANGE - Students at South Range Elementary School spent March wrapped up in a book - the same one, actually.

The school became one of more than 200 across the United States and Canada to take part in the One School, One Book program, which is intended to bring faculty, students, and families together in experiencing a book simultaneously.

"We were kind of thinking we wanted to start doing something different for the whole reading month, so we were looking at revamping that anyhow," South Range Principal Kim Harris said. "And I happened to come across One School, One Book, and thought, 'Wow, that's a great idea.'"

Schools and districts can pick from a list of about 20 One School, One Book-approved titles or choose their own. South Range went with E.B. White's "Trumpet of the Swan," about a voiceless trumpeter swan that tries to communicate by learning trumpet.

Harris said while many kindergarten students weren't able to read the book themselves, they were able to understand it when read to them; meanwhile, it could still hold the attention for the sixth-grade students in the building.

"It was definitely in the interest range for that group," she said.

The school bought a copy for every family, and sent a calendar home with the students indicating which chapter should be read that evening.

The connection was also kept going at school.

Each morning, there would be trivia questions during announcements. And there were a series of activities tied to the book. For one of the chapters, which included a night at the Ritz Hotel in Boston, kids dressed up in formal wear. Another chapter including a camping trip was commemorated with camping outfits and an outdoor picnic lunch.

It's something they'll definitely be doing again this year, Harris said.

"I had a lot of great feedback," she said. "We weren't even a couple days into the month and we had families calling saying, 'This is the best. We're so enjoying sitting down as a family and reading together.'"

To learn more about One School, One Book, visit or call 804-310-1214.



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