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All students at CES begin reading about Flora & Ulysses

Posted Date: 01/07/2019

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Flora reads comic books, believes in superheroes, and prepares for all the terrible things that might happen to a person. Her world collides with a squirrel that gets sucked up into a vacuum cleaner and becomes an improbable superhero that writes poetry.

The “Illuminated Adventures of Flora and Ulysses” will be read by the Chanute Elementary student body this month during its One School One Book literacy program now in its seventh year at the school.

After watching a skit Friday where the title of this year’s book was revealed, the oldest student in each CES family received a copy of the book to read at home as a family during January.

“When a whole school reads a book, there’s a lot to talk about” was the theme recited by all the visiting Superheroes at the morning assemblies. It’s one of the reasons that the OSOB literacy program is held every year at CES. The students talk about the book as a family, in the classroom and with their friends.Girls with book Flora and Ulysses

They also expand their vocabulary and knowledge through classroom projects related to the topics in the book. This year the students may write their own squirrel poetry, research flying squirrels, discuss the attributes of a superhero, or use the scientific method to prove whether something is true or not.

This year’s book was chosen because it’s a combination of literature and graphic novel components and is written by a popular author the students are familiar with, said Karen Vallier, a chapter I reading teacher at CES. It also contains a rich vocabulary, which reading teachers love.

In the first chapter, Flora describes herself as a natural-born cynic (who looks on the dark side and believes the worst will happen), but leaps to save a squirrel while shouting “this malfeasance (wrongdoing) must be stopped,” and strives to save the squirrel from being harmed by its arch-nemesis (enemy or foe).

“If (students) hear a word they’ll likely be able to read it, and if they read it they’re more likely to make it their own and understand it,” Vallier said.

She shared a number of facts about the importance of reading aloud and the benefits of reading just 20 minutes a day with children.

Reading aloud to children at home helps them develop a larger vocabulary, a longer attention span, better listening skills and a solid reading foundation, Vallier said. In fact, if families read together for 20 minutes a day, seven days a week, they get more than 121 hours of relaxing, bonding time every year, and the children are exposed to more than 1.8 million words of text.

The family reading schedule for the OSOB program begins Monday with the first 15 pages of the book. It concludes on Jan. 25.

Students will take home a copy of the reading schedule and a list of trivia questions they can discuss and answer with their family. The answers to the trivia questions are turned in each week for the opportunity to win prizes at the end of the program.

Vallier announced that with help from the USD 413 Foundation, 120 students will receive $10 gift certificates to purchase a book from the Scholastic Book Fair held at the school this spring.