For the next three weeks, the students and staff at Wilder Elementary are diving into Cynthia Rylant’s “Gooseberry Park” as part of its first-ever school-wide book read.
Staff members kicked-off festivities at a school-wide assembly Friday morning where one of the book’s characters, Professor Albert (a puppet operated by instructional coach Brian Meyer), previewed the story with school counselor Natalie Cross.
For Wilder educators, the school-wide activity helps set the tone for the start of the year: fostering a community, building excitement about reading and reinforcing character traits teachers discuss in their classrooms such as kindness, perseverance and unity.
“We wanted to bring everyone together,” reading teacher Mandy McQuown said. “We’re reiterating that we need to be kind. We’re all in this together.”
As part of the book read, all teachers will read chapters of the book each day in their classrooms. McQuown will announce trivia questions covering what they read during the morning announcements the next day, giving students the opportunity to win prizes each week.
Throughout the book read, Wilder has embedded activities that celebrate kindness, such as an animal shelter drive, door decorating contest, videos featuring read-alouds with other stories related to kindness, and kindness challenges. They also plan to recognize National Do Something Nice Day on Oct. 5, which falls within their book read.
Friday’s kick-off assembly also wrapped up the school’s Start with Hello Week and celebrated International Peace Day with a song featuring students.