RADFORD – The entire student body of McHarg Elementary School in Radford has entered the world of Teddy and Pip, two inquisitive and magical guinea pigs.
McHarg is currently in the midst of its annual One School, One Book program, aimed at getting families to read together on a daily basis. This year, the book is “A Tale of Two Guinea Pigs” by Lisa Maddock. Each evening, students and their parents or caregivers are asked to read one chapter of the book. McHarg School Reading Specialist Kelly Wheeler explains the One School, One Book program can go a long way in increasing students reading skills, and give families valuable time together.
“One School One Book is a program aiming to increase the number of families reading aloud to their children,” said Wheeler. “ Reading aloud to your children is a great way to build their vocabularies and their knowledge of the world because parents can read books that are harder than the children can read to themselves.”
“ It is also a great way to connect with your children, because reading aloud usually triggers a conversation about the story, or about things that parents did when they were younger,” she continued.
As an added bonus, each student gets to keep his or her copy of the book when the program is over. Each copy has a sticker on the inside cover with the student’s name. The endeavor is not inexpensive. Wheeler credits generous grant funding with making the program possible for the school.
“McHarg’s One School One Book books this year were funded by two grants: one from the Community Foundation of the NRV, and one from the RHS Foundation,” she said. “McHarg is very thankful to both organizations, for without them, we wouldn’t be able to buy a book for every family at McHarg.”
And it is not just the students and their families who are reading the book. Wheeler explains the staff has gotten the guinea pig bug too.
“Another feature of One School One Book is that it isn’t just the teachers and the families reading the book, every member of our staff here is — our custodians, cafeteria and office staff, bus drivers, and even Dr. Brown (principal), Mrs. Denny (Executive Director for Curriculum and Instruction) and Mr. Graham (Superintendent) are joining the fun,” she said.
Maddock, the author of the book, kicked off the program with a video she made just for McHarg. She also donated prizes for a trivia game related to details of the book.
“The author made a special video to introduce the book to us,” said Wheeler. “Ms. Maddock also donated the trivia question prizes, and a set of the rest of the books in the series for us to raffle off at the end! Our McHarg community is so lucky to have personal contact with the author.”
Wheeler said anyone interested in seeing the video can visit teddyandpip.com.
“While you are there, you can also hear some of the songs we are learning in this fun book,” she said.
“Each morning, a special guest talks with students about the chapter we read the evening before,” she continued. “Then the special guest and the students announce the trivia question for the day, and students who get the trivia question correct are entered into a daily drawing to win a special bookmark or a postcard.”
One School One Book is a national program of readtothem.org. Wheeler said she hopes the program will positively impact the students, their families, and the school staff.
“In our busy world, taking time to read to our children is sometimes difficult to do,” she said. “But, if we make a commitment to read aloud to our children every day, the lives of all will be enriched.”