Region 16 launches new reading program

The Things They Carried

BEACON FALLS — Region 16 has kicked off its newest reading program, “One Region, One Book.”

The program was brainstormed over the summer and earlier this fall by Woodland Regional High School English teachers Joelle Kilcourse and Paul Geary.

“One Region, One Book” is a district-wide reading initiative to read, “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien.

“We live in a community that is dedicated to military service, so that’s why we chose ‘The Things They Carried,’” said Kilcourse.

“One Region, One Book” was a spin-off from an idea that Kilcourse and Geary learned about in their hometowns.

“We really hope that members of the community who are not students also read the book,” Kilcourse said.

This program is not a club but there are book talks and movie nights scheduled for the winter. Any member of the community who has read the books can come and ask questions, interact, and share their insights about the book. The first event is scheduled for Dec. 16 at 5:30 p.m. in Woodland’s media center.

The event will be a moderated book talk with food, refreshments, and live music. Special guest and Vietnam veteran Reverend John Clarke will be bringing the things he actually carried during the Vietnam War.

There will also be a movie night, hosted by Woodland history teacher Tim Phipps, featuring the film, “We Were Soldiers,” scheduled for the winter.

The last event will be an awards night to choose the winner of a writing contest, which is another initiative to encourage participation in the program.

Kilcourse said the program is reaching out to Woodland servicemen and servicewomen to involve them in this historic initiative.
“We have also contacted Woodland alumni who have served or are currently serving in the military,” Kilcourse said.

Geary said the only hard part about reading is getting people to start. After that, people enjoy it.

“Once they get into the books, they like it,” said Geary.

From what Kilcourse and Geary have heard, many students and even parents are already reading the book.

“The library keeps running out of copies,” Kilcourse said. “We hope that after students read the book, they pass it onto their parents.”

With the first event about a month away, it’s not too late to start reading the book. Geary and Kilcourse agreed that reading should not be limited to students.

“We want to create a culture of literature in Region 16 where students and their parents read and interact out of school,” Kilcourse said.

More information on the contest is available at the program’s website,, or by e-mailing Kilcourse or Geary at