Racine school district uses book to teach students about differences

RACINE, WI - Being different, is beautiful. It's the message one school district is sending its students.

The opportunity is a part of a new SC Johnson literacy program initiative revolving around the New York Times bestselling book, "Wonder," by R.J. Palacio—and the book has now been introduced to area students in 4th through 8th grades. 

SC Johnson distributed more than 9,000 copies of the book to Racine-area students at the beginning of the year and now there’s a competition being held that is connected to the curriculum to engage classrooms in hands-on learning experiences.

For the essay competition, students are asked to write about acts of kindness or superheroes of empathy for a chance to win $10,000 dollars for their school. 

“We followed that up by introducing a curriculum into the classroom that really helps teachers and creates a tool for them to deliver the key messages of acceptance," Amy Winter said. "At SC Johnson we really feel that literacy achievement is that first step to future success."

And according to Eric Gallien —deputy superintendent of the district —that curriculum is a hit in the classroom and already having a positive effect on students.

“Students are already shifting their mindset around empathy and understanding how their behavior impacts their peers," Gallien. 

There’s even an essay competition component to help students connect with the book on a different level. For the competition, students are asked to write about acts of kindness or superheroes of empathy for a chance to win $10,000 dollars for their school —a book with a main character 6th-grade students at Gilmore middle school say they admire.
 

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