by Cori Hilsgen
Students in the Sartell-St. Stephen school district are learning about hamsters, hamster dances and more as they participate in the One District, One Book program.
Sartell students at Oak Ridge and Pine Meadow elementary schools and their families are reading The World According to Humphrey, written by Betty G. Birney, for the program.
“One District, One Book is a unique opportunity for students and families to share the experience of reading a common book while building a love of reading across our community,” said Sarah Kleppe, communications specialist. “The program which promotes family literacy occurs during February which is also I Love to Read month.”
About 1,200 books were distributed to every family with students in kindergarten through fourth grade at Oak Ridge and Pine Meadow schools.
The book was kept secret until early February when there was a big reveal at both schools.
Staff, however, did offer some hints prior to the reveal about what the title of the book might be.
Media center staff at Oak Ridge Elementary created a pet shop as a hint for students.
The story is about Humphrey, a class pet hamster, who has all sorts of adventures in the classroom and is taken home by the students. Because the story involves a class pet, the pet shop was a hint about the series.
Sartell-St. Stephen Instructional Coaches Laura Arndt and Dawn Gent work with teacher teams at the schools to choose a book, plan activities for students and families and create the reading schedule for the book.
During February, students have a chance to answer trivia questions, learn new vocabulary words and discuss the events and book characters each day at school.
“I’m excited. I think this will be a good book,” said Pine Meadow second-grader Lyla Durrwachter.
“I love Humphrey, he’s so entertaining,” said Pine Meadow Elementary kindergartner Elinor Pangerl.
Pangerl was excited to officially join One District, One Book, in which her older sister had participated.
Families are encouraged to read the book according to the following reading schedule: Feb. 2-Chapter 1, Feb. 5-Chapter 2, Feb. 6-Chapter 3, Feb. 8-Chapter 4, Feb. 9-Chapter 5, Feb. 12-Chapter 6, Feb.13-Chapter 7, Feb. 15-Chapter 8, Feb. 16-Chapter 9, Feb. 19-Chapter 10, Feb. 20- Chapter 11, Feb. 22-Chapter 12, Feb. 23-Chapter 13, Feb. 26-Chapter 14, and Feb. 27-Chapter 15.
They are also encouraged to participate in related activities at home and at school throughout the month of February. Other people in the area are also encouraged to get a copy of the book and read along with the students.
The program is funded through the Sartell-St. Stephen Education Foundation.
The One District, One Book program evolved from a program created by the Read to Them non-profit organization in 2009. The organization’s mission is to create a culture of literacy in every home.
Kleppe said the Sartell-St. Stephen district joined the St. Cloud and Sauk Rapids-Rice school districts to read the same book in 2015-16 and each district chose their own book in 2016-17.
To view videos of this year’s reveal for The World According to Humphrey and other information visit: https://www.sartell.k12.mn.us/announcements.