Opinion: The One Book, One School Initiative


Erin Lynch

At the end of the 2020-2021 school year, students and staff were sent home with a task to complete over our summer vacation – we were to read the book I Am Malala. This was all a part of the “One Book One School initiative”, which calls on all students and staff in one school to read the same book. Once we all returned for the upcoming school year, students and staff were able to discuss, compare and contrast their thoughts on I Am Malala.

This assignment was very unique because we were not given the freedom of choosing a book we were interested in, it was mandatory that we read the same book. This is the reason that I personally am not a fan of the “One Book One School initiative.” I do in fact enjoy reading – if I happen to read a book that I really find interesting, I can fly through it in just one sitting. This is only if it is a book that I like and, although I found Malala’s story very interesting, I did not find myself doing this with I Am Malala, and I don’t think I was the only one. Teachers are wondering why many students have not completed this assignment. This may be because the book they were told to read simply wasn’t chosen to fit their taste, but everyone in the entire school. 

If you remember in years past, students were given the freedom of choosing the book they were to read over the summer vacation. This means they are not reading a book that the school chooses for them, but a book they choose based on their likes and dislikes. I believe that having students choose their summer reading is a better option than the “One Book One School initiative”. However, the entire school reading one book was an exceptional way to bring East Rockaway closer together. With the whole high school taking part in reading about Malala and her story, it was a way for us to discuss our opinions, compare our thoughts, and more.

In conclusion, I personally would rather pick my own book to read over summer vacation. Although I Am Malala was a very interesting, well-written memoir, students should have a say on what they will be reading. So, what do you think? Should all students be told to read the same book or should the students choose what they are reading?