For the first time any and all who live in Gobles are invited to take part in reading a book together and discussing the book and the lessons it contains. The book will be distributed in late May and early June, and then in August the English teachers of Gobles MS/HS will host a series of discussions and activities, plus host a community potluck and picnic on August 27.
The book Outcasts United: The Story of a Refugee Soccer Team that Changed a Town, by Warren St. John, tells the true and ongoing story of a small town in Georgia that was transformed when it became a center for the relocation of refugees from around the world. Families from communities all over the world were placed in Clarkston, Georgia, by the United Nations to escape from violence and persecution, and suddenly found themselves living in the United States in a community with other refugees, many of whom did not speak the same language, or share culture, history, or country of origin.
Luckily, a spirited young woman and former college soccer player came upon teenagers kicking the ball around one day in Clarkston, and from the population of refugees formed a soccer team that would help the kids and the entire community begin to think differently about the places they all now called home.
Though there is an edition of the book written for adult readers, we will be reading the youth edition, which is written for middle school level readers.
Community members will be able to donate their copies of the book to the school library to be added as a classroom set for use in English classes by future students.
Community-wide reading events have been taking place in larger communities across the country for several years, and Outcasts United has been used several times, including in San Diego, California. In an email to Gobles teacher Corey Harbaugh, author Warren St. John indicated he was "thrilled, and very humbled" to learn that Gobles had selected his book for a community-wide read along. He offered to help our school and community get the most out of his book with successful activities that have been held in other communities.
In recent years English teachers at Gobles Middle/High School have stressed summer reading, even assigning books to be read by students during the summer to be finished by the start of the school year. Students who read during the summer have been found to start each school year more than half a grade level ahead of non-reading students, on average, and for some individual students who do not read, the impact is even more drastic: they can see their reading skills fall by as much as an entire grade level.
Teachers are hoping this year that the entire family will get in on the summer reading, doing what smart communities and successful students do all over the country: read together, talk about it, learn, and celebrate learning all year long.
Please contact or stop by the district or high school office to pick up a flyer and order form. Contact event planner, Gobles English teacher Corey Harbaugh (628-2113, ext. 1708; or firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information, or if you have any questions about this program.
You can download the flyer by clicking here.