To further strengthen and develop its “Adopt a School” partnership with El Verano Elementary School, Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa has launched a Community Book Club initiative for students and community members to discuss literature.

According to SMI’s Michelle Heston, the program will support the literacy objectives for El Verano students while providing stewardship and volunteer opportunities for colleagues of the hotel. Members of the resorts’ leadership team and select students will meet quarterly. Their first meeting was Feb. 16 in the hotel lobby.

Heston says that the goals of the program are to create awareness in the community about the importance of literacy; provide a space for students and community members to discuss literature; develop comprehension for students by talking about and listening to others; modeling behaviors – when students see adults reading it provides motivation; and further strengthens community and school partnerships.

The club’s April Book of the Month was “Save Me A Seat” by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan. The May book was “The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.”

According to El Verano principal Maite Iturri, after a short summer break, the program will resume in the fall.

“The club is growing in size and interest,” she said. In fact, the First Congregational Church of Sonoma participated in the final club and all El Verano fifth graders participated, along with 10 volunteers between both FSMI and FCC.

“We are confident that our Community Book Club has the potential to promote increased enjoyment of books and changes in literacy practices among teachers, students, families and members of the broader community,” said Heston.

“Once we get the program rolling, we will open it to the wider community,” she added.