Ocean City Today

BIS launches ‘One School, One Book’ reading program

By Kara Hallissey | Oct 05, 2017
Berlin Intermediate School kicked off its “One School, One Book” program on Sept. 18, introducing the book “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio to all fourth, fifth and sixth grade students in addition to staff. Pictured are students Lily Olsen and Angel Tejeda.

(Oct. 6, 2017) Kindness, compassion and acceptance are all valuable lessons being taught through Berlin Intermediate School’s “One School, One Book” program.

All students and staff are reading “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio this month. On Sept. 18, close to 800 fourth, fifth and sixth grade students enrolled at Berlin Intermediate and all staff members received a hardback copy of the book.

“Every student in the school and every staff member who works at the school in any capacity received a book,” said Amy Gallagher, assistant principal at Berlin Intermediate School.

It follows the life of a 10-year-old boy who was born with a facial deformity, which has made it harder to make friends.

Teachers hope the book will have a lasting impact on how students treat others, especially those different from themselves.

“We had been talking about participating in the program for a while,” Gallagher said. “The book is being used as an anti-bullying campaign. The main character has a physical disability and it enables kids to relate to the story by helping them verbalize how they want to be treated and how to treat others.”

The goal of the program is to build a community of readers including parents, teachers, staff and students. Families are encouraged to read together each evening. Specific page numbers will be assigned on school nights to make sure everyone is reading the same chapters.

“Students read Monday through Thursday and have a break on the weekends,” Gallagher said. “We ask kids not to read ahead. They circle up every morning to talk about something specific or a scene in the book.”

Berlin Intermediate School students are about one-third of the way through the 310-page book, she said earlier this week.

Students also receive daily trivia questions and a random drawing takes place every morning. Lucky winners receive a free ticket to the “Wonder” movie premiere in November.

“Sun and Surf [in Ocean City] has given us two days to take the kids to see the movie when it comes out [in November],” Gallagher said.

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