Brian Hofer does more than teach science at Geneseo Middle School. He shares his love for books and reading with his students.
Hofer is responsible for creating GMS: On the Same Page, Geneseo Middle School’s Community Book Club.
“One-Handed Catch,” by M.J. Auch is this year’s selection. The book, set in 1946, is about an 11-year-old boy involved in a tragic accident that leads to the amputation of his left hand, and forever changes his life.
The reading program culminates on March 27, when two Wounded Warriors, Kyle Earl of Lansing, Mich., and Greg Reynolds of Providence, R.I., speak to the students during the school day.
“Wounded Warriors” are soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and have returned to the United States as amputees. Some of the wounded veterans play on the Wounded Warriors softball team.
The two Wounded Warriors, as well as Tyler Hoogerwerf, Geneseo, who was wounded in Afghanistan in 2007, also will speak to the public at 6:30 p.m. on March 27 in the middle school gym. There is no cost to hear the speakers.
As a means of thanking the soldiers for their time in Geneseo, Hofer has organized a benefit meal for Wounded Warriors, at 5 p.m. on March 27, prior to their presentation. Residents are invited to attend the dinner. Advance tickets are available at the middle school office or by phoning 945-0599. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door.
“On the Same Page” was created in 2009 by Hofer in an effort to increase student achievement in reading by getting the community involved by reading the same book as GMS students. The program gets underway in the spring semester of each year when students volunteer to be part of a reading cadre that reads books off the Rebecca Caudill Reading List.
The cadre narrows the books to three to five by the end of the school year.
Hofer said the final decision is made the following fall and the cadre makes the decision based on the following criteria: 1) has a strong male and female character and, 2) has a topic that is appealing to not only middle school students but to adults as well.
“Once the book is chosen a book talk is created to help encourage students and community members to read the book,” he said.
Beginning in January, students and teachers begin promoting the program by speaking at area service organizations and distributing copies of the book.
“People who take a copy of the book are encouraged to share the book with others when they have finished reading the book in hopes that the books will circulate throughout the community,” Hofer said, adding there is no cost to participate in the program.
Page 2 of 2 - “To bring the program to a close, each spring there is some type of culminating activity where community members and students come together to do some type of activity dealing with the book,” he said.
In addition to Hofer, other Geneseo Middle School staff members on the program committee are Dean Johnson, Brad Monier, Cindy DeBruine, Matt DeBaene, Jill DePauw, Linda DeSmith, Jeanne Anderson, Tom Ferguson, Diane Olson and Jeanne Brucher.
Hofer said, “The On the Same Page program shows that no matter your age, a good book is a good book. Over the past three years, many families have spent quality time together reading the selected books and what a great way for a family to spend time together.”