One Book, One School

Nama Poulos, Contributor

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Around school, it is likely most students have heard word of a certain book called Restart. Andrew Lewis plans for everyone, including students, teachers, and any additional faculty to read the young adult novel. The project is headed by a panel of ALMS administrators. Andrew Lewis hopes that all members can come together as one and share this story of kindness and challenges. The book has been distributed to be read by all. But what exactly is the project, what is its purpose, and what are the details?

One book, One school is a schoolwide mission to read a novel in unison. Andrew Lewis has decided that reading a book altogether will not only create unity but also carry a lesson. Restart is a novel about a boy in middle school who gets injured, giving him amnesia, which spirals into a world of challenges and change. When he regains consciousness he realizes the importance of kindness. It was written by Gordon Korman who has previously written a bestselling novel. The story was chosen because it symbolizes a very important message about good character and teaches an equally important lesson about kindness. The goal of one book, one school is to make our school a better place. “We hope that One Book will build a community of readers in our school. We also hope that we’ll learn to feel empathy for other people,” said Ms. Morris. The project also intrigues students to read with trivia questions given daily. Reading is beneficial to students brains and cognitive skills. The book will not only teach a lesson and improve students’ minds, but it will hopefully also bring our school together as one. By creating unity, we are taking a step in making kindness and respect more common among peers.

Each student was given a book that they are responsible for reading. Not only will students be reading the story, but so will all of the ALMS faculty and staff. One book, One school is a very popular activity for schools nationwide and has been done with an array of novels. The idea of our school doing One book, One school stems from Mrs.Gerrol. A committee of teachers read multiple novels and narrowed it down to Restart.  Mr. Garst started looking for the budget, over four thousand dollars, last year. “ A team of teachers chose three finalist books and read all three in the fall. Then we’ve been planning activities since winter break. I think each committee member has spent at least thirty hours on this initiative. That’s like an entire week of school spent reading and planning, except that we did this in addition to our routine jobs,” Ms. Morris explained. It is fair to say that there was a ton of thought and dedication put into One book, One school by numerous faculty and staff members.

On Thursday, the seventh of March, there was an assembly detailing and going more into depth about the plans for One book, One school. Mr. Garst gave an impactful speech about leaving a kind legacy and treating peers with respect. He then kicked off One book, One school by reading aloud for all students to hear. In the assembly, it was discussed that there will be a daily trivia question put up online about the book’s events. To see the questions students should join the Restart Google Classroom. There was also a calendar handed out to keep the progression of students’ reading on track, chapter by chapter. With each resource, the school aims to make reading easier and more interesting for each student.

To obtain more insight into the book Restart and its purpose, Andrew Lewis Middle School’s own librarian, Mrs. Mabry was interviewed along with Ms. Morris, a sixth-grade teacher. They were asked a few questions in order to further detail the events and purposes of reading Restart. Mrs. Mabry, when asked about her goal with the book, said, “There’s a couple of purposes really, one is to give students a common reading experience where they can talk about it and just connect through a book. Of course, I’d love for people to find a book they enjoy. And also have some learning surrounding what happens with bullying.” It seems that one of the main purposes of One book, One school is for students to make connections. Ms. Morris had a similar reason, “We hope that One Book will build a community of readers in our school. We also hope that we’ll learn to feel empathy for other people,” said Ms. Morris. “ I think a lot of students feel that when they read it is something that is solitary, and it doesn’t have to be that way. Hopefully, people will realize that and be interested in reading in a different way, as a community,” commented Mrs. Mabry. She also added that she is both elated and excited to see students enjoying the book and reading more. “I think it is really just that it is making reading exciting for kids and showing them that it’s applicable to real life,” she explained. Mrs. Mabry was also asked why she felt each student should read the novel and participate, she answered by stating, “The whole point is to make it a whole school experience and so if students don’t read the book then they will be left out  of this common experience that they can talk about and relate to, and learn from; they just won’t be a part of it. It’s something that the teachers, Mr. Garst, and other administrators feel is important and valuable, we hope the students will feel the same way.” With everyone reading around the school, it seems the book is leaving an impact on students and faculty. Ms. Morris added, “I hope students will remember the enjoyment of sharing a story and the book’s lesson about treating others kindly. What I will remember from this book is how Chase responds to the pressure from his father and teammates because it helps me understand people who can be challenging. That’s more important than remembering the names of the characters or the events in the plot.” Both faculty members chimed in with a lot of positive opinions surrounding One book, One school. They each believe that Restart has an amazing potential to be a connecting and learning experience for each and every person at Andrew Lewis.

One book, One school has been so far very eventful, exciting, and successful. Many students, teachers, and staff are enjoying reading Restart. With each person that reads and participates in reading the book, our school is improved. The resources and given activities guide readers in a positive direction in reading the novel. Daily trivia questions have been pulling in many students with tantalizing prizes and opportunities. One book, One school has been making quite the impact on participants. Already, numerous amounts of people, who aren’t regular readers, are reading excitingly. With the encouragement of school-wide reading, our school has the potential to be a much kinder place. Remember students, get reading!


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