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Family literacy focus for OCSD, City of Oswego

Oswego City School District students will once again expand their home library, thanks to a collaborative partnership which has brought back the “One District, One Book” initiative.
Students in grades one through six throughout each of the district’s elementary buildings will receive a copy of “The One and Only Ivan” by Katherine Applegate. The story follows the incredible story of a captive gorilla named Ivan and how key kindness is on his journey.
Charles E. Riley, Minetto, Kingsford Park, Fitzhugh Park and Leighton elementary schools will kick-off the spring initiative May 20. The program was made possible, thanks to a $21,900 “LIFT Oswego” grant from the City of Oswego to the Literacy Coalition of Oswego County. The goal of the grant, secured with funding from the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative, was to reduce poverty, which members of the coalition believe is possible through increased literacy efforts.

The “One District, One Book” initiative is a part of the Read to Them program, which aims to increase parent engagement and strengthen literacy skills. Children will be encouraged to read with their parents and some classroom teachers will also make time to re-cap the suggested daily page readings.
OCSD Superintendent Dr. Dean Goewey said “The One and Only Ivan” is a great addition to the district’s recently-implemented Leaders with Literacy program, which has also focused on kindness.
“This is a perfect piggyback to that,” he said.
Carrie Plasse, OCSD executive director of elementary education and accountability, said it is exciting that all parties have come together for the Oswego City School District to again read a book, as a whole community. The goal, she said, is to have parents read to the child and with the child.
Plasse thanked City of Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow for the funds and his efforts to promote family literacy throughout the city.
“I’m proud to fund and support the “Read to Them” program through our LIFT initiative by partnering with the Oswego County Literacy Coalition and Dr. Goewey and the Oswego City School District,” Barlow said. “This interactive reading program will surely make a positive difference in the lives of our youth by strengthening their literacy skills and encouraging our students to read outside of school. This project was a major component of our City-wide LIFT initiative as we work to enrich the lives of our next generation.”
Suggested activities for the “One District, One Book” initiative will include: paint like Ivan with finger paints, draw quietly, describing elements of the story, identifying wasted words, communicate like a gorilla, billboard creation, map your domain and a plethora of trivia questions and other activities to connect students and their families with the book.
With all the district’s focus on literacy this school year, Dr. Goewey said another installment of the Read to Them program is a perfect way to end the 2018-2019 school year. Reading guides will be sent home with books on May 20.
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