With a name like his, it is no wonder why the new USD 428 superintendent is so passionate about literacy. Brad Reed is promoting reading in a big way with the One District, One Book program. It takes reading from the home, to the classroom, to school, to school district and out into the entire community. “It will be an opportunity for us to engage all of our K-6 students, across the entire district, all at the same time, with the same material,” he said. “We will be able to help develop a love for reading and literature, in a way that our kids have never experienced before. We will have the chance to teach, enrich, and discuss this material with our students, at a depth that we usually just don’t have time for,” Reed said. “We will be able to help our students develop a real sense of appreciation. This will be an opportunity for parents and the community as a whole, to engage and interact with our school district and our students, in a deep and meaningful way,” he said. In order to move the program from a dream to a reality, Reed is making the rounds to raise money to fund the lofty project. “I have been meeting with community and business leaders to garner support and enthusiasm for this project,” Reed said. “While it is primarily a project for our K-6 students, I want it to be more than that, I want it to involve and engage our entire community in celebrating literacy. I hope the community will take advantage of this opportunity to interact with our school district, teachers and students in a close and enjoyable way,” Reed said. “I hope that they will partner with us in this experience and really help us to highlight and enhance literacy across our community,” he said. “This will be an exercise that can help to unify and strengthen our community, and help to make Great Bend an even more amazing place to live.”
Many people carry into adulthood fond memories of being read to as a child and a program being promoted by USD 428 hopes to make memories for a whole new generation of children. “The purpose of the One District, One Book program is to create a culture of literature in every home,” said Jennifer Schartz, USD 428 public information director. A well-read populace helps raise the level of the entire community. “Children who are read to learn to read more easily and become better readers,” Schartz said. “Literacy skills provide the basis for a lifetime of learning and productivity. Parents don’t seem to read regularly to their children like they used to,” Schartz said. “Parents don’t realize how important they are in teaching kids to value reading. Families should be encouraged to read together,” she said, noting that the One District, One Book program does it in a big, fun way. All public school kindergarteners through sixth graders will be given a single book to read with their families. It will make children of various ages part of a larger community with lots of things to talk about and share. They will also be spending quality time with their parents without the distraction of technology. The district wide program is now in the early planning stages and will launch next fall. A committee of teachers, staff and city librarians read a list of six suggested books and last week they chose “The World According to Humphrey” by Betty G. Birney for the program. Those serving on the committee included Amber Shattuck, Ashley Brack, Blythe Murphy, Carla Maneth, Dayna Ball, Emily Mulch, Emily Parsons, Erin Holste, Holly Tittel Jenni Wittig, Jennifer King, Jennifer Schartz, JoAnn Blevins, Jodi Schumacher, Joni Wood, Judy Sneath, Kelly Curtis, Lacey Bonine, Linda Basye, Mary Sell, Melia Boeh, Misty Lanterman, Natalie Boss, Phil Heeke, Sheryl Neeland, Susie Guenther and Trish Reiser. Funds for the program are being solicited from grants and local donors. If you would like to contribute, contact Schartz at 620-793-1500. To learn more about the program visit http://readtothem.org/.