Sharon Lieberman and Jenna Nemec-Loise knew they had to get creative when it came time to design the annual summer reading activity for North Shore Country Day lower schoolers.
Lieberman, the lower school reading specialist, and Nemec-Loise, the director of library and information literacy, annually create a reading-response activity for students that is based on the book selected for the Winnetka school’s annual “One Book, One School” program.
The activity traditionally involves students gathering in some capacity. But with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the pair of educators had to take a different approach this year.
When students partially returned to NSCDS earlier this fall, each learning cohort was tasked with creating their own page for an e-book based on Grace Lin’s “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon,” the school’s selection for the annual summer-reading program.
Each group of students — with the help of Lieberman, Nemec-Loise and their teacher — then produced their own page for the online text.
This year’s project culminated in students’ publishing “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon: A Lower School Community Adventure Based on Grace Lin’s Award-Winning Novel.”
“To try and do some kind of activity together, when we need to stay apart, is quite challenging,” Lieberman told The Record. “So Jenna had a wonderful idea of using Book Creator to create our own book that is inspired by different aspects of ‘Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.’ It was really Jenna’s brainchild, and we ran with it. It worked out beautifully.”
Throughout the process, students discussed themes that are constructed in Lin’s text. The learning groups designed pages that include representations of motifs, pictures detailing their favorite scenes and discussions of important topics.
“The idea was to create an artifact that summed up everybody’s engagement with the book,” Nemec-Loise says in a news release from the school. “Every cohort could contribute something original and substantive— but also fun and exciting — that was a record of their experience with the book. How unique would that be.”
Students unveiled their finished e-book during an all-school livestream in October.
“The students, the faculty, the parents; everyone was really impressed and excited to see the final product,” Lieberman said. “It was really neat to see all their work come to life.”
NSCD’s “One Book, One Lower School” program started in 2018. In the two prior years, students read “Appleblossom the Possum,” by Holly Goldberg Sloan and “Wishtree,” by Katherine Applegate.
A similar “One Author, One School” program that would incorporate NSCD’s upper schoolers is a possibility in future years, Lieberman said.
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Martin Carlino is a co-founder and the senior editor who assigns and edits The Record stories, while also bylining articles every week. Martin is an experienced and award-winning education reporter who was the editor of The Northbrook Tower.