Pines Bridge Embarks on Schoolwide Reading Effort

March 12, 2019

Winning a golden ticket isn’t the only way to get into Willie Wonka’s famed chocolate factory. At Pines Bridge School, students are getting a glimpse into Charlie’s fantastic adventure through One School, One Book, a nationwide literacy effort.

Students in every Pines Bridge class are currently engaging with the characters in the novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory through activities that range from reading aloud to art projects to candy-themed cooking lessons.
“Every class has embraced it in a different way,” said teacher Lisa Giacomini-Essell, who is spearheading the reading effort. Because Pines Bridge does not use a universal curriculum, efforts like this one help build a sense of community, she said. “This is one way to bring everyone together on a project.” 

Student Christopher Taveras said he was enjoying the book – both because it tells a good story and because it features chocolate, which he loves. “We’re all involved with it,” he said, “and that just makes it more fun.” 

Students throughout the school have already participated in a competition that created almost as much excitement as the book’s famous contest. All last week, students dropped a golden ticket containing their name into a box for a drawing to have lunch with Principal Csilla Mate on March 22. After the names of the five lucky winners were announced over the PA system – Brennan Baumann, Zach Malotos, Timothy Fountain, Jake Solomon and Lucas Testerman— shouts and clapping could be heard around the school.  

Teacher Laurie Slackman said her whole class was excited for Zach Malotos when his name was called: “It just made his day – he’s absolutely thrilled.”  

Mate said the one-book program offered the advantage of having the whole school involved in one theme while still allowing teachers to come up with unique activities that are appropriate for their students’ developmental and cognitive abilities.

“It creates a literary community within the school when everyone is working on the same thing at the same time,” she said. Mate and Giacomini-Essell said teachers are doing activities that often dovetail with classroom goals. Students might practice fine motor skills by sorting different colored candies or learn about color diffusion through a science experiment using Wonka Gobstoppers. 
In addition, Mate said One School, One Book offers another way to help expose Pines Bridge students to classic children’s literature.  

This is the second year Pines Bridge has engaged in One School, One Book, a program that is promoted nationally by the nonprofit Read to Them. Last year, the school community read Charlotte’s Web, and activities included a classroom-door decorating contest.
Christopher Taveras chooses five “golden tickets” for a lunch with Principal Mate.