LRHSD Values “Connections” with 2020-2021 Common Reading

  • The Lenape Regional High School District (LRHSD) has selected a timely theme for the 2020-2021 common reading list: "Better Connections." The books on the list all feature characters that rely on making connections to drive the story.

    “In this time of social distancing and virtual learning, the value in making and maintaining connections is clear,” said LRHSD Director of Curriculum and Instruction Heather Xenakis. “Our One Book, One School Committee saw this year’s common reading as an opportunity to tap into conversations and personal reflections about the importance of connecting. We’ll examine the texts that we read and share what we’re observing and relating to, and we'll find ways to do that together, to further strengthen our own connections across our district.”

    LRHSD’s “One Book” program unites students, staff, families and even members of the community through the shared experiences of reading the same book. In recent years, the district moved away from choosing one book for all to read, instead creating a short list of books with a common theme for readers to choose from. The books are selected by the One Book, One School Committee, which is made up of teachers, media center specialists and paraprofessionals from each of the four LRHSD high schools: Cherokee, Lenape, Seneca and Shawnee, as well as the Sequoia Alternative Program.

    “By giving readers options, we allow them to choose a genre or subject matter that interests them, and we validate the notion that reading really is fun,” said David New, assistant principal at Cherokee High School and head of the One Book, One School Committee. “Our Committee surveys students and looks at data to determine what students are checking out. Our goal is for all students to find something on the list that they want to read, and once they start, have trouble putting it down.”

    Ahead of the 2020-2021 school year, participants may select one or more of the following books from the “One Book” list:

    • I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka & Martin Ganda (Nonfiction)
    • Between the Lines by Nikki Grimes (Realistic Fiction)
    • The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen (Fantasy)
    • Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R Tolkien (Fantasy/Classic)
    • Far From the Tree by Robin Benway (Realistic Fiction)
    • Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (Historical Fiction)

    LRHSD has links for purchasing these books in addition to directions for obtaining a library card for the Burlington County Library, as well as the Mt. Laurel Library for Lenape High School students and families only.

    “We know that the past few months have deprived all of us of meaningful connections, despite our best solutions for remaining in touch,” said LRHSD Superintendent Carol Birnbohm, Ed.D. “This year’s common reading theme will prompt us to reflect on the important relationships we have formed in our own lives, the value of these bonds and how we have altered our interactions in response to the pandemic. We hope that we learn from both the characters in our books and others within our LRHSD community so that we can continue to adjust and maintain positivity in these challenging times.”