Reading Together Parent Volunteer Program: Calli Be Gold


Last December, I wrote about a parent volunteer group I created to replace a pre-existing program that wasn’t working. This program involves parents in the school while giving the children an extra dose of SEL. I’ve divided this program into 2 groups this year: Kindergarten-1st grade and 2nd-4th grade.

To read more about the program and how it came about, check out my previous post here.

Kindergarten and 1st Grade

After evaluating the first year of this program, there were a few things that needed to be adjusted. For example, this year, instead of 1st-4th grade reading the same book throughout the year, 2nd-4th will be reading one book (with monthly readings from parents), and 1st grade (like Kindergarten) will have parents read one short book 4 times during the school year. Here are the books I chose for Kindergarten and 1st grade:


  • 1st Quarter: A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue by Julia Cook
  • 2nd Quarter: Hands Off Harry by Rosemary Wells
  • 3rd Quarter: Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners by Laurie Keller
  • 4th Quarter: Berenstain Bears Show Some Respect by Mike Berenstain

1st Grade

  • 1st Quarter: Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester
  • 2nd Quarter: Ruby the Copycat by Peggy Rathman
  • 3rd Quarter: Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
  • 4th Quarter: If Only I Were by Carl Sommers

I gave each parent volunteer a summary of the book they would be reading, along with some possible discussion questions and a short activity. {If you would like a copy of all of this, ‘like’ The School Counselor Life on Facebook and request it via e-mail or Facebook message.}

2nd-4th Grade

For my 2nd-4th grade students, I chose a book they could all understand and get something out of {which was actually a pretty difficult task}. After lots of searching, I settled on the book Calli Be Gold by Michele Weber Hurwitz.

This book is about a girl named Calli who is a member of the Gold family. Her siblings and parents all excel at specific things, but Calli has not yet found her talent. She is pushed into many activities and fears she will never make her family proud. Along the way, Calli’s 5th grade class is paired with students from a 2nd grade class for a project, and Calli’s partner is considered “weird” {while it doesn’t say it in the book, the character’s behavior lends me to believe he is on the spectrum]. Calli befriends her partner, their project gets special recognition, and Calli learns that her talent is being kind and a good friend {which is just as good as winning trophies}.

The only challenge I had with this book is that there were a few things slightly above the 2nd grade level {i.e. talking about how another girl got her first bra and snippets from a sex ed class}, so I have a few pieces that are skipped by the parent volunteers who are reading.

Volunteers come to each 2nd-4th grade class once a month to read a section of the story, and the book will be finished by May.

Next year, I would like to switch all grades to once a quarter readings like I do with Kindergarten and 1st grade. I LOVE the idea of a lower school wide read, but it has proven extremely difficult to find a book that not only is appropriate for 2nd-4th grade students but also has a strong moral, social, or emotional lesson. If you have any ideas for a book, please let me know!



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