How It All Began for South Western

SWSD-emblem[1]A few years ago, the idea was hatched: wouldn’t it be wonderful if all of the students in the four elementary schools throughout the district participated in a shared home-reading experience?  It certainly wasn’t an original idea, but it was a new concept in our district and one we were excited to try within our supportive community of families.  While there were “canned programs” available that were quite impressive, it was important to us to customize this shared literacy program to be especially relevant to our the children in our elementary schools.

After securing the funding for this program through the unified PTA/PTO groups in our schools , a committee of dedicated and creative teachers was assembled.  Everyone in the group brought significant strengths to the table and the larger committee broke into sub-groups to plan every aspect of the home reading experience from a home reading calendar to daily trivia contests in school; raffle contests with themed prizes suited to the particular book; engaging displays and visuals; guest readers to help children who were not able to complete the reading at home; and live action videos to watch with all students to kick off the novel.

Creating an Engaging Read Aloud with Your Child

At the end of a busy day for both you and your child(ren), it is sometimes a challenge to muster up the strength for “one more chapter” in a family read aloud.  To make the reading time more enjoyable for both you and your listeners, engage them with questions about what has happened and make predictions about what might happen next.  Change the tone, volume and expression in your voice to match different characters.  Stop at challenging vocabulary words to be sure the meaning is understood.  You don’t have to be a seasoned reader to have an enjoyable time reading with your child(ren) – just being together is what matters!  The video linked below models an example of spicing up a read aloud with some of the tips mentioned above.  The adult is reading from our 2014 One District, One Book selection, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.

One District One Book Read Aloud Model (YouTube)