January 12, 2015
Dear Elementary Families,
On behalf of the GCPS team, we hope your family had a restful, happy holiday season. We’re looking forward to an engaging, productive spring semester and a successful 2015 for our students, families, and educators.
In February Goochland County Public Schools will be embarking on a special project for the second consecutive year, a division-wide book club called One District, One Book (ODOB). ODOB is a unique program that provides elementary children at all grade levels with the opportunity to share the same book over the same time period. Curious as that may seem at first, it actually makes sound educational sense. Literacy experts recommend reading material out loud that is beyond a child’s individual reading level; the same experts support reading chapter books aloud with older children, even when they are able to read independently.
Our ODOB committee selected a title that can be followed, understood, and enjoyed by younger students, but that will still captivate older children. As the centerpiece of the program, every elementary school family will receive a copy of this same book and will be asked to share the literacy experience during the month of February. The title will be announced at a special school-wide assembly introducing the program and the book on Monday, February 2, and your child will come home that day with his/her very own copy. When the books are distributed, families will also receive a shared community reading schedule so everyone can keep up at home. Generally, you will be asked to read one chapter each night—about 10-15 minutes. We hope that you will find the time to participate in this special activity focused on community and the importance of literacy.
Reading aloud at home is incredibly valuable as it helps develop a strong foundation for all learning, as well as models lifelong literacy; moreover, it’s also a fun, worthwhile family activity. With the ODOB program, we aim to build a community of readers across our elementary school communities. Everyone—students, parents, teachers, bus drivers, and administrative staff—will be participating.
In school, your child will be engaged in literary discussions and invited to answer daily trivia questions to encourage and celebrate participation. We encourage you to make sure your family participates so your child can be included. You will find that your child will take pride in knowing and anticipating the details of the story. Throughout the month, everyone will be talking about the book!
On behalf of our entire GCPS team, please join me in thanking the Goochland Education Foundation (GEF) and Ms. Tamra Adams, Director, Adams International School, for their overwhelming generosity and continued support of our school community. Ms. Adams’ gracious and significant donation, by way of the GEF, has made One District, One Book a reality for us this year. We are appreciative and proud of this community partnership.
Good luck! I hope to talk with both you and your child about the book during the month of February. When an entire school division reads a book, there’s a lot to talk about. With your help, we will strengthen a community of readers in Goochland!