Hamster hijinks

Chanute Elementary kindergartner Harrison Chaney takes a turn rolling in the giant hamster ball at the One School One Book kickoff assembly Friday morning.  


USD 413 public relations

The anticipation is over! Chanute Elementary students learned Friday what book the entire school – students and parents, teachers and principals – will be reading over the next three weeks.

At Friday morning’s assembly, a “mystery guest” in a mask with ears and whiskers told jokes to give the students clues about what this year’s One School One Book might be about. When the stage curtain was pulled to give the final clue, students excitedly yelled “hamster cage!” It wasn’t just any hamster cage, but one large enough for the students and mystery guest Superintendent Kellen Adams to get inside and roll across the stage. This is the eighth year for the One School One Book school-wide literacy program at CES. A copy of School Days According to Humphrey, by Betty G. Birney, was given to each family with children at CES. The goal is for every student to read the book aloud at home with their family. A reading schedule keeps everyone reading at the same pace, which may take 15 minutes each night.

Strange as it may seem, this program makes sound educational sense, said CES Principal Eric Hoops. 

Reading aloud at home is valuable because it better prepares a child to be an effective reader; it’s fun; and it’s a worthwhile family activity. 

“Reading professionals recommend reading material out loud that is beyond a child’s own reading level,” Hoops said. “We also believe that you can and should continue reading chapter books with your older children, even when they are able to read by themselves. We have selected a title that can be followed and understood and enjoyed by younger students, but will still captivate older children.”

The list of trivia questions the students bring home “encourage and reward attentive listening,” Hoops added. Those who return the answers to their classroom teachers will be put into a drawing for prizes at the end of the three-week program.

There will be a contest among the grade levels to see which classes return the most answers to the trivia questions. The winning classes will earn a PE class with the giant hamster cage. 

One School One Book not only emphasizes the importance of reading, but also that reading can be fun.

“We aim to build a Community of Readers at our school,” Hoops said, and according to the OSOB motto and his experience, “When a whole school reads a book, there’s a lot to talk about.”


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