Doss School students joined students across Texas on Monday, April 15, in kicking off the fifth annual statewide celebration of literacy called Texas Reads One Book.
That day, students gathered to watch a video of Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett reading the first chapter of “Friendship According to Humphrey” by Betty G. Birney.
Then, for the next three weeks, the students will read a chapter a day with teachers and participate in lessons and activities related to the book at school.
Parents are encouraged to read and discuss the book at home with students.
Texas Reads One Book is a project by the nonprofit family literacy organization Read to Them with support from the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA).
The program provides a model for engaging parents because all students receive a copy of the book. This encourages even reluctant readers and parents to read together and to get involved with school events.
Leaders of schools that have participated in Texas Reads One Book rave about the change that occurs when families across their districts engage in reading and discussing the same children’s book at the same time.
Gary Anderson, founder of Read to Them, says that family-focused one-book programs can be “game changers” that engage teachers, students and parents and ignite systemic change that revolves around a love of learning rather than test scores.
The excitement for reading generated among students and families continues long after the shared reading experience ends, he says, noting that districts in Virginia and New York that participated in similar programs for years have reported higher test scores and increased interest in reading among students.