One Book, One School was designed to bring an entire school together through the enjoyment and fostering of community that a single book can provide. Nearly three years ago, The Franciscan School’s literacy coordinators Julie Sperrazza and Celina Manville decided they wanted to bring the program to our school, creating collaboration across grade levels. “We wanted a way to bridge literacy and a love of learning across all the K-8 classrooms,” says Sperrazza. With the challenges that came from COVID-19 the last two years, the program at TFS officially launched for the 2021-2022 school year.
With the help of Tina Kollauf and Kayla Dellinger, Sperrazza and Manville have rolled the program out to our school with great success. Through school fundraising, the Home and School Organization has graciously provided a grant for the books that were purchased. The Media Center has been a hub for resources, and TFS’s Art, Music, and Spanish teachers have incorporated the books into their classrooms through activities, art projects, music, movement, and storytelling. The program has helped provide necessary skills across STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts, and Math). It has given students the unique opportunity to learn from a common resource and openly have conversations in a way the school has never done before. And each month, the teachers try to have a kick off and reveal of the new book that engages the whole school.
Books that the team has chosen are diverse and inclusive to all TFS students so that each one can see themselves in the characters. A few titles include: “Giraffe Problems,” “Hair Love,” “Carl and the Meaning of Life,” “Rosie Revere, Engineer,” and many more. Twice this year, days have been dedicated to the books so the entire school can focus its activities on the story. The team has thoughtfully curated a list of lessons and activities that align STREAM and faith principles with each book.
Beyond the goal of building a culture of literacy, One Book, One School at TFS has become so much more. “It has been one powerful way to build that sincere community that we so treasure at TFS,” says Manville. The program has deepened students’ understanding and engagement in their Catholic identity and how they live Catholic social teaching (CST). As members of the CST committee, Sperrazza and Manville recognized that the program provided the perfect platform for conversations about how we live out our faith. For example, the CST principle for March is Care for the Poor, and the book “A Bike Like Sergio’s” shares a moral dilemma with the main character that initiates deep conversations through the lens of CST. Manville says “These are not just simple picture books, but powerful parables that can help us grow no matter our grade or age.”
Because of its great success, TFS looks forward to continuing and expanding the program next year. Sperrazza shares that One Book, One School is centered on the idea of building a community of readers around a shared text, and we are excited to keep the program going next year!