Indian Springs Elementary gets into reading spirit with 'One Great Book' project
BY KIM ARCHER World Staff Writer
Sunday, March 11, 2012
3/11/12 at 9:30 AM
BROKEN ARROW - The buzz around Indian Springs Elementary School lately is about the adventures of a hamster named Humphrey.
He is the primary character of a book nearly all 500 students are reading as part of the "Our School, One Great Book" campaign, which was launched to stir up student interest in reading and to motivate parents to read to their children each night.
"The idea is just to get the whole school reading the same book," said Principal Larry Smith. "What's cool about it is the kids come in the door talking about the book."
The book is called "The World According to Humphrey," and it is the story of a classroom hamster who observes and reports on students' antics as well as his own.
The school reading specialist, Karen Beinke, selected the book because it has broad appeal for pre-kindergarten to fifth-grade students.
"We wanted to pick a book that is not a current motion picture so they have to read it," Smith said.
School leaders encouraged parents to read one chapter each night to their children. Each morning, students hear a trivia question about the book and a name is drawn from all the correct answers for a small prize.
"Frankly, we want parents to feel pressure to read the book to their children," Smith said. "A lot of parents aren't going to want to go get the book. This way, they don't have that excuse."
And the students are getting a priceless learning experience. Parental involvement is vital, he said.
Research has shown one of the most important things parents can do to ensure their child's academic success is to read to them.
Yet fewer than half of parents read to their young children daily, according to national literacy group Reach Out and Read.
With a $1,000 donation and the last $500 in the activity fund, the school purchased enough books for all students' families.
"So far, it seems the kids are very excited," Beinke said. The school plans to do this every year.
The school modeled its program on a similar national one that was both profit-driven and costly, she said.
Indian Springs couldn't have done its own program without a $1,000 donation from one of its parents, Chuck Jones of Colt Communications, she said.
"We're having a lot of fun," Beinke said.
Original Print Headline: BA elementary gets into reading spirit
Kim Archer 918-581-8315
Teacher Karen Beinke (center) sits with students Damian Wyont (left), Daylon Williams and Jordan Atkins, who holds the book "The World According to Humphrey" at Indian Springs Elementary School. MIKE SIMONS / Tulsa World