YORKTON – St. Michael’s School hosted a special event the evening of January 30th to celebrate family literacy.
The event was part of the ‘One School, One Book’ initiative, where every student and family in the school read the same book and participated in various activities related to it. This year's book was ‘Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library’ by Chris Grabenstein.
The event featured five different stations, each with a game or activity inspired by the book. The story is about a group of kids who are invited to spend the night in a new library designed by a famous game maker, Mr. Lemoncello. They have to solve puzzles and clues to find a way out of the library.
“The games and activities were all relevant to games and activities that appear in the book,” said Tammi Latimer, teacher at St. Michael’s School and organizer of the event.
For instance, one of the stations was based on a game called ‘Race to the Top of the Heap’, where the kids had to stack books on a cart and race to the finish line.
“We played that last night in our own little sort of version,” said Latimer.
Another station involved finding books with Rebus puzzles inside them based on clues given by the staff.
“In the book they also had to go throughout the library and find different books and inside those books were clues — Rebus puzzles — and one of our stations was the same thing where we had to also go through stacks and find the books that had different Rebus puzzles inside of them based on the clue that we had given them,” Latimer explained.
The point of the event was to promote family literacy and encourage a love of reading among the students and their parents.
“January 27th is International Family Literacy Day and so that’s why we choose January as part of the whole month of reading and then we close with a big celebration with all of our families,” said Latimer.
Latimer added that she is the biggest cheerleader when it comes to Family Day, but that she had a strong team help her put it all together.
“There were five of us that were on the key planning committee,” she said, noting that the entire staff was there to help with the event. “We have a staff of about 20 to 25 teachers."
Latimer said she was very happy with the turnout and the feedback from the families. “Any time we can have families together celebrating a book and literacy that’s an amazing opportunity,” she said. “It’s so important to bring those families together and to celebrate a book.”
She also said that she hoped the event would create lasting memories and inspire a lifelong habit of reading.
“Even when these children grow up and become parents they’ll know how important it is to read to your children. We really need to start reading to children from the moment they are born.”
“I think that if we can build those positive memories for our children that one day when they are those adults they will do it too — they will build those memories for their own children,” said Latimer, “I think it’s really important.”
Latimer said the event was made possible by the generous support of the school and the community.
“Books are expensive and so we always try to find help in the community and help in different organizations that also believe in the value and the importance of families reading,” said Latimer, adding, “if the funding is there I would be happy to do it again.”
She also invited anyone who wants to help next year’s ‘One School, One Book’ to contact the school.
“It’s exciting when you think that, ‘this is for a book,’” she said, “we don’t — I think — spend enough time celebrating the great authors that we have out there and the great stories that we have out there because it’s important to see ourselves in books as well.”
The ‘One School, One Book’ initiative is a program that aims to foster a culture of reading in schools and communities. It provides schools with resources and guidance to select a book, distribute copies to every student and family, and organize activities and events around the book.
More information can be found at oneschoolonebook.org.