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Newark students, staff reading together as part of “One Book, One School” initiative

by WayneTimes.com
October 10, 2020

For the second year in a row, Newark Middle School students and staff are all reading the same book as part of the two-month-long “One Book, One School” initiative.

It is “Posted” by John David Anderson and largely about the changes, good and bad, in a middle school, after cell phones are banned and students respond by using post-it notes to communicate messages all over the school that aren’t all kind.

Anderson’s humorous and heartrending story about bullying, broken friendships, social media and failures of communication between middle schoolers reminds both young and older readers that words carry enormous power for good or bad. 

“I am very excited that our students are able to participate in the ‘One Book, One School’ initiative again,” NMS Principal Teresa Prinzi said.  “By combining the book with digital activities, we are able to have our entire student body _ whether they are learning through the Hybrid or Distance mode _ participate. This year we also added incentives for our staff!

“I think our students will be able to relate to the characters and the events that take place in the story,” she continued. “For the characters the mean things are written on post it notes_ for our students mean things may be shared through social media. The important thing to remember is that words have meaning and are powerful. The book gives a lifelong lesson on the importance of using words to build respect and kindness. It is a great story. I encourage families to read along with their students.” 

Sixth grade ELA and Social Studies teacher Jen Pearson, who this year in view of COVID-19 guidelines, has a hybrid schedule teaching in the classroom two days and two days remotely to students at home, is overseeing the eight-week- long “One Book, One School” initiative.

She picked the book for the school to read because its timeless message was enthusiastically received by her sixth students when she read it aloud to them last year. Her taped read-aloud of the book is also available to NMS students and staff on “YouTube.”  

To reinforce the book’s overarching message that words are so very powerful and bullying in any form is unacceptable, both staff and students are quizzed weekly based on 45 pages of reading. And then a drawing with names of participants is held in which three students and one staff member win gift cards from area businesses. At the end of the initiative, the names of students who have taken all eight quizzes will be compiled and a drawing of three names for three Amazon Kindle E-readers will be held.

" ‘Posted’ is an excellent book for middle school, particularly during these digital times.  The story is captivating and engaging.  Students can't wait to find out what happens next." The message in Posted is very powerful _ words matter.  I think this is so important for middle school students to remember. Lots of staff members and their classes are participating.  Engagement is higher for this year than last year,” Pearson said. 

  “One of her students, sixth grader Keylianie Alamo Ubiles said she is enjoying reading the book.

  "I like ‘Posted’ because it's an interesting book,” she said. “When I'm done with a chapter, I want to know what happens next so I keep reading.  I know when I'm done reading it, I'll want to read it again!".  

Pearson also appreciatively noted NMS secretary Mandy Armstrong decorated a hallway display case with a  “Posted” theme.

“She had fun writing messages on all the post-it notes.”

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