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2015-2016 Community Read Topic and Title Announced

Bully Awareness:  Exploring Empathy and Tolerance

As part of our school’s vision and mission, our community comes together every fall to discuss a global topic during an event called Community Read Day.  Over time, we have used this venue to bring a great variety of universal issues and perspectives to our students and our stakeholders.  Community Read is a unique feature of our school, and each year we are able to tailor it to our unique needs as a community of learners.  At an earlier site-based meeting, a global and introspective topic was suggested and has been investigated by a team that included teachers and students. 

This year our school would like to take this opportunity to start meaningful dialogue in our community on the use of empathy and power of tolerance to prevent bullying.  During the spring, we allowed students to select a book through a school-wide voting process.  We are also offering an alternate title.  Please select one of the following books to read over this summer and be prepared to join us in a meaningful conversation this fall.

Primary Text:

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who committed suicide two weeks earlier. 

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list. 

Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.


Alternate Text:

Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories

Today's top authors for teens and young people come together to share their stories about bullying—as bystanders, as victims, and as the bullies themselves—in this moving and deeply personal collection. Lauren Oliver, R. L. Stine, Ellen Hopkins, Carolyn Mackler, Kiersten White, Mo Willems, Jon Scieszka, Lauren Kate, and many more contributed 70 heartfelt and empathetic stories from each corner of the schoolyard. In addition, Dear Bully includes resources for teens, educators, and parents, and suggestions for further reading.


Students, what should you do?

1) With your parents, decide which book you plan to read.

2) As you read, keep an open mind and consider what you are learning from the book.  Practice all the great reading strategies you have learned in school like questioning, summarizing, annotating, predicting, inferring, visualizing, connecting, and evaluating.

3) Be prepared to participate in the Community Read Day events in the fall including class discussions and writing assignments in all of your classes.  There will also be events throughout the school year that tie into the important topics from the books.

Parents, how can you get involved?

1) Help your child choose a book that you think best meets his or her needs intellectually and emotionally.

2) Help your child find a copy of the book by purchasing a copy or checking one out from a library.

3) Feel free to join the community read by reading one or more of the books on the list.

4) Talk with your child about the book.  See the suggestions below.

5) Encourage your child to pick up other books that interest him or her.      


If you’d like to help your child practice effective reading skills in alignment with the Common Core Curriculum, consider asking him or her the following questions.  Always follow up their answers to any questions with “What makes you think that?” or “How do you know?”  Citing evidence that supports their knowledge or arguments is an important life skill.    

General questions to ask your child after reading…

  • Did you enjoy what you were reading? Why or why not? 
  • What’s the book about? Give me a summary of the plot.
  • Did you like the way the book was organized?
  • Who’s your favorite character? Why?  Does he or she develop or change?
  • Where and when does the book take place? How do the social conditions of that time and place affect the plot and characters? 
  • Did you learn anything new about a particular culture? If so, what?
  • What stood out to you the most and why? Why do you think the author made that choice?
  • What did you learn from the book? What central ideas or themes did you notice?
  • Does this book remind you of anything else you’ve read, seen, or heard?
  • Did reading this book change your point-of-view?


A resource page will be added to our Media Center website over the summer for use by parents and students.  The date for Community Read Day will selected by our site-based team members and publicized throughout the community after school reopens in August. 

Written by: Lisa Justice, Assistant Principal and Lindsey Arant, English Teacher
Posted: Jun 23, 2015 by Lisa Justice

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