I first read about this program in an issue of Reading Today, an IRA publication. As soon as I read this article, I knew I wanted to try this idea. This is a program in which one book is selected and the entire school community—parents, volunteers, and teachers—reads that book at home over the course of an entire month. Each morning the principal reads a trivia question designed to pique and promote interest in the book, to encourage attentive listening at home, and to serve as a daily reminder of the program. For more information about this exciting program visit Read to Them. Here you can find a more detailed description, additional resources, and a couple of video clips.
This past year our school used this program during the month of March for National Reading Month. We are a K-5 building so we wanted to select a book that would interest a wide age range. We selected The World According to Humphrey by Betty Birney and it was a huge hit! Below are some of the ideas and activities we used to enhance the reading experience. You may download any of the reproducibles for use in your school or adapt the ideas for other books. If you use any books from the Humphrey series, be sure to check out Betty Birney’s website. She is a very approachable author. We contacted her to let her know about the program, and she agreed to write a letter to our school and even answer questions the children had about Humphrey or her books.
For the Humphrey Contest we invited students to write a story and draw a picture about a new adventure that Humphrey might have at their school. We selected one winner from each classroom and awarded the winning contestants a stuffed hamster which we had purchased at Amazon.com. It was neat to see the students trying to emulate the author’s writing style by adding some of Humphrey’s mannerisms and sayings. Below is a sample of one of the winners: