‘Charlotte’s Web’ comes alive to kick off One Book, One School

By Stuart Hedstrom 
Staff Writer

    DOVER-FOXCROFT — For the third consecutive year, students at SeDoMoCha Elementary School will have the opportunity to take part in a shared reading experience with their families through the One Book, One School program. Over the next several weeks the pupils and families will read and discuss E.B. White’s novel “Charlotte’s Web,” and take part in activities during the school day with a program finale for all on the night of Feb. 13.


Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom

    SOME PIG — Wilbur the pig (portrayed by David Murray) tries to spin a web with advice from Charlotte the spider (Emily Poland) and assistance from Templeton the rat (Derek Carroll) during the kickoff to the third annual One Book, One School program at SeDoMoCha Elementary on Jan. 9. Over the next few weeks students and families will read and discuss the novel “Charlotte’s Web” together, with accompanying activities taking place at school and a big culminating evening of events on Feb. 13.

    On the evening of Jan. 9 the reading program commenced with students and families joining over 20 faculty and staff members to fill the multipurpose room to pick up their copies of “Charlotte’s Web,” which is being provided by the school. They also received a reading schedule and parent guide to accompany the book’s 22 chapters.

    “The reading of this book is to be a family event,” literacy teacher Carolyn Clark said in explaining the One Book, One School program. The shared reading experience is intended to help students improve listening comprehension, increase vocabulary, understand concepts, lengthen attention span and create a positive attitude toward books.

    The parent guide includes a list of questions for each chapter for students and family members to discuss. Clark said the next day at school Principal Julie Kimball will have trivia questions included in the morning announcements and a replica of Templeton, a rat in the novel, will be going around to the various classrooms as part of the activities to coordinate, promote and enrich the shared experience. Students will also return completed reading logs, which will enter them in a drawing for prizes.

    Clark said the culminating event will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 13 from 5 to 7 p.m. at SeDoMoCha. “There will be a meal and then crafts, games and activities and some entertainment,” she said, with everything relating to “Charlotte’s Web.”

    Grade 4 teacher Rachel Ouellette-Page then invited all the children to come forward and sit on the floor as she read chapter one aloud. “One of my favorite things to do, as children who have had me know, is to read aloud to children,” she said, as those in attendance were introduced to the characters of the book.

    The students then sat back in their seats to see what they had just heard acted out in a skit. After those in attendance were introduced to the human characters, they met some of the animals from “Charlotte’s Web” including Charlotte the spider and Wilbur the pig. Wilbur, portrayed by grade 2 teacher David Murray, was met with a chorus of giggles from the audience while dressed for the part in all pink clothing and wearing a head band with ears at the top and when he tried to jump to the ground after Charlotte — voiced by nurse Emily Poland — explained how she spins webs.

    The first SeDoMoCha Elementary One Book, One School took place in 2011 as students and families read “A Caste in the Attic” by Elizabeth Winthrop and then enjoyed a medieval feast after they finished the novel. Last year “The Indian in the Cupboard” by Lynne Reid Banks was the program selection and the ending evening event featured a Western motif and activities.

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