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SMSD News: Read Across SMSD December – Lend a Hand

In December, Read Across SMSD encourages us all to “Lend a Hand.” The theme helps all readers consider the value of helping others with stories about lending a hand to

In December, Read Across SMSD encourages us all to “Lend a Hand.” The theme helps all readers consider the value of helping others with stories about lending a hand to people who need it. 

Student Food Drive

December’s featured elementary book title, selected by the National Education Association for Read Across America, is called “The Lost Package” by Richard Ho. This book tells the story of a lost package and a family who helps it arrive where it is intended to go. It also illustrates how it can take a lot of helpers working together to deliver items people need.

Students across the Shawnee Mission School District collected tons of food in a districtwide food drive this November. At Westridge Middle School, members of the Heart of a Wildcat club encouraged seventh and eighth graders to bring donated items. Dr. Christy Ziegler, chief of student services, diversity, equity, and inclusion, joined several of the club members as they packed up food drive items so they could be delivered. They talked about the project and how students in our community can lend a hand.

Click here to see a video.

“Students can do community service with their family or friends on the weekends or help their neighbor rake leaves if their neighbor is having trouble- they can help in any way they can,” Elizabeth Barnes, eighth grader shared.

 Tons of food items were collected by students and staff across the district. The SMSD’s Operations and Maintenance Team collected the items into the district warehouse and will distribute it to volunteers who will share with people in our community, Mike Roudebush, warehouse foreman stated. 

“It took a lot of teamwork from students and staff, but we know it is going to lend a hand to a lot of people,” he noted. 

December 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 Read Across America’s December titles, encouraging readers to lend a hand:

Elementary: “The Lost Package” by Richard Ho and Illustrated by Jessica Lanan.

Learn more by clicking here.

Middle: “Thanks a Lot, Universe” by Chad Lucas.

Learn more by clicking here.

Young Adult: “How it All Blew Up” by Arvin Ahmadi

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.