A monthly community read at Katonah Elementary School

Katonah Elementary School is using the power of stories to teach kindness and respect—through a Book of the Month program for the whole school community. The initiative is led by the school’s Character Education Committee and sponsored by the KES PTO.

“This program is a wonderful way to support our new school theme, PAWS for Kindness,” said Principal Cristy Harris

Exploring personal value, kindness, empathy, and compassion

KES’ Book of the Month began in October with “We’re All Wonders” by R.J. Palacio. The book follows Auggie, a boy who feels ordinary but does not look ordinary, who discovers that each of us have characteristics that make us unique.

Each month, fifth-grade Student Leaders visit the younger classes to introduce the new book and deliver a classroom copy. Teachers read the book aloud to their students and choose from discussion prompts and suggested follow-up activities provided by the Character Education Committee. The book is explored in Good Morning KES, at the school’s monthly Sharing Assembly, and on bulletin boards throughout the school. The ultimate hope is that families extend the conversation at home, too.

 In a few days, Student Leaders will deliver Jon Muth’s book, “Zen Shorts,” to KES classrooms. February is sure to be peaceful and calm as everyone learns ancient Zen parables from the main character; a giant panda named Stillwater.

Character Education Drives Book of the Month Selection

KES Character Education Committee is led by Assistant Principal Kweon Stambaugh and includes classroom teachers Melissa Conwell, Paul Hughes, Craig Jettelson, Judy McBride, Tracy Merrit, and Rebecca Wayland; Reading Specialist Enid Linden, Social Worker Jessica Fulton, music teacher Michael Gelfer, and Librarian Jeanne Hand. 

 KES Book of the Month initiative has featured "We’re All Wonders," by R.J Palacio; "The Invisible Boy," by Trudy Ludwig; "Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed," by Emily Pearson; a KES collection of poems related to empathy and compassion; and "Zen Shorts," by Jon J. Muth.  Two more to come!