SMSD News: Read Across SMSD January – Try New Things

A new year is upon us, making it a great time for going on new adventures and setting new goals.

 The January theme for Read Across SMSD is “Try New Things.”

 Students try new foods

January’s featured elementary book title is called “A Sled for Gabo,” by Emma Otheguy. In this story, Gabo is a new kid in town who has never been sledding. He also doesn’t have a hat, gloves, or even a sled to join the fun. But, his community works together to try something new.

 In this book, and in the books selected by the National Education Association (NEA)  Read Across America program for middle and young adult readers, food plays a role in helping characters set new goals and see them through.

 Inspired by these books, Indian Hills Middle School Principal Blake Revelle joined eighth graders Addi Hall and Macauley Douglass and seventh grader Eshana Gupta in a taste test. They worked with Shawnee Mission School District Nutritionist Jill Funk to sample a few options. 

Click here to see a video of their experience.

 Each student tried a pomegranate, colorful carrots and a mango, just like the fruit Gabo is handed in the book. Funk shares with students that it is good to give new foods a chance when going through the lunch line.

 “Did you know it can take at least 10 times of trying a new food item to finally like it?” Funk asked the students. “Trying new foods can be very healthy for us. It’s good to eat a variety of colorful foods and the more of those foods we like and eat, the more nutrition we can get.”

 After testing their foods, the Indian Hills students reflected on why they think it is helpful to try something new. Sometimes you have to push yourself to try something new because you don’t know if you will like it until you try it, Addi Hall shared.

“It can give you a lot of culture and sense of the world,” Hall added. “You can experience things you wouldn’t have if you didn’t open yourself to trying new things.”  

January Reading and Learning Resources

 Read Across SMSD is modeled after the national NEA Read Across America program, and led in partnership with NEA-Shawnee Mission. Here are the Read Across America’s January titles, encouraging readers to Try New Things:

 Elementary: “A Sled for Gabo” by Emma Otheguy, illustrated by Ana Ramirez Gonzalez.

Learn more by clicking here.

Middle: “Measuring Up” by Lilly LaMotte

Learn more by clicking here.

Young Adult: “A Pho Love Story” by Loan Le

Learn more by clicking here.

The links above provide activity ideas, discussion and reflective writing questions, related resources, and more titles to try for each age group. Shawnee Mission School District librarians have also provided a list of similar book titles related to the theme. They can be found on this webpage. 

What is Read Across SMSD?

Read Across SMSD is a celebration of reading across our community. We encourage reading for all ages across the SMSD in support of our district academic goals and our strategic plan belief that our community’s strength is derived from its diversity. Click here to find out more and participate in Read Across SMSD. Post your participation on social media using #ReadAcrossSMSD.