DOWNERS GROVE – A single book will help unite the Fairmount Elementary School community this month, from the principal to the students and the crossing guard.
The Fairmount School Parent Teachers Association won a $2,000 grant from Target to buy 300 copies of “The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs” for the One Book One School program.
The book tells the story of a bored schoolboy who is challenged by his family to find seven wonders in his small town.
Fairmount families and staff will read about 10 pages of the book out loud each night at home, allowing all students at the school to follow along with the story regardless of grade or reading level.
“I think it’s a great way to get kids excited about reading,” Fairmount PTA member Heather Spang said. “One of the first grade teachers mentioned that her kids were really excited to read the same book the sixth-graders were reading.”
The book also will serve as the basis for programming for the entire month. Every classroom will have different activities appropriate for the grade level, and students are being encouraged to perform “Total Random Acts of Caring and Kindness,” in and outside of school. Students will be rewarded with train tickets that will be placed on tracks that run through the school.
The program also coincides with a fundraiser for items that will be donated to a homeless shelter. And there are guest speakers at the school to read the book out loud to students who might have missed the previous night’s chapter.
“It’s nice to have a whole family project where the entire community is involved,” Fairmount School PTA communications co-chair Jennifer Galvan said. “So when the child is walking to school, the crossing guard will say ‘Hey did you read that part about what happened to [the main character].’”
Galvan said that once the school finishes, they will pass it to another school so they continue the program.
“It’s a great way for the community to come together through reading,” she said.