GMS Students Read Books that Come With a Message
Each Friday, the student body of Gentry Middle School reads a book together, one that comes with a message. The program is called One Book, One School and it allows students to put the lessons learned from the book to work in their community.
One Book, One School is designed to enhance literacy skills and bring all students, teachers, and staff together as a community. By sharing one book with students across all grade levels, school officials say they hope “to share the love of reading with our entire school, not just one class.
“The purpose is to have every child reading,” media coordinator Shannon Snow said. “We are trying to instill a love of reading in every child.”
Students enjoy having a chance to share their thoughts risk-free about the book with their friends because this semester-long activity is not graded in the traditional manner. Freely sharing their views helps spark further interest in other books and especially those by that author.
The program also provides teachers an opportunity to share their love of reading. They are able to expose students to literacy in every classroom, all while discussing the interesting plot and theme of the book and how it applies to our everyday lives.
The students and teachers focus on a different book each year.
“Our program is on a three-year rotation so that any particular student is exposed to three books during their time at GMS,” the school said in explaining the program. “Books are carefully and purposefully chosen each year. The theme of the book is related to real-world issues and problems that our children face every day. The book ‘Out of My Mind’ by Sharon Draper taught students the significance of accepting those who are different from you, ‘Schooled’ by Gordon Korman also focused on acceptance, but more from the point of the importance of being yourself, and ‘Pay it Forward’ by Catherine Hyde has opened our kids’ hearts to how kindness changes the world.”
Their most recent book “Pay it Forward” inspired the students to make scarves for the Give A Kid A Coat campaign. “The kids are so thoughtful and so giving and they just want to give back,” said Snow.
The student body made 365 scarves that the Salvation Army will distribute. “I think it’s phenomenal that these kids want to pay it forward at such a young age,” said Lt. Lea Brooks, with the Salvation Army. “It’s going to set them up to be … productive members of society by paying it forward in their own community.”
The scarves were not the only projects to stem from the theme of the book. This year, the students also made Kindness Rocks that are displayed in a Rock Garden at the school and around Surry County. They folded origami Christmas Trees that were given to the Children’s Home of Surry County, area nursing homes, hospice homes, and Brenners.
“Always help out even if you don’t get anything in return,” sixth-grader Emmory Thomas said. “It’s always good to brighten someone’s day.”
Eighth graders were also inspired to pay it forward as they planned and executed two separate celebrations for the Exceptional Children’s Class.