Student video ‘Gotta Keep Reading’ inspires nation

Lyrics were changed to make reading the center of the song, and to include the refrain “This book’s going to be a good, good book.”

The video was posted to the school’s web site in late January. It also was posted on YouTube, where it went viral and captured the attention of Oprah show producers.

This month, The Oprah Winfrey Show highlighted Ocoee Middle School and its video by filming a segment on the school’s campus. Winfrey announced that she and Target would pay for the school library’s makeover, including new furniture, new computers, and 2,000 books.

“They managed to get almost 1,700 kids pumped up about something you know I love,” Winfrey said during the broadcast.

Ocoee Middle School’s Gotta Keep Reading Video

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(Singers are the school’s band director, Nicole Nasrallah, and its former chorus director, Jamie Perez. Principal Sharyn Gabriel is the solitary dancer at the front of the group when the video begins.)

Winfrey asked the students questions via satellite link, and the entire school gathered in the courtyard, just like in the video. Eighth-grade students Alexis Fox and Danny Mora were on stage with Gabriel and answered some of Winfrey’s questions.

Gabriel said the announcement about the library’s renovations is a great surprise, especially because the library was built to accommodate 600 fewer students than now attend the school.

“We are very fortunate to have been given this very generous and meaningful gift that will touch our entire community,” she said. “The plans for the renovation are top secret, but we do expect the renovation to be complete [by] the end of this school year.”

Since Ocoee Middle School recorded the video, Gabriel said, school data suggest that students are ahead of where they were last year at this time in the number of books read and Reading Counts! quizzes passed.

“There were many lessons learned throughout this entire process, but perhaps the most important is the value of an entire school community coming together to work on a great project with a crucial message,” said Gabriel. “The other lesson we hope to share with others is to think big. Our students can go farther and do more than we think they can. They can be rock stars if we believe in them and if we don’t hold them back.”

Gabriel said Ocoee has received messages from schools all over the country and even from other parts of the world—many sending their congratulations for a job well done and asking for information on how they, too, can do a similar project.

“We are thrilled beyond belief that others want to spread this message,” she said. “We certainly hope other schools will think outside the box when it comes to inspiring and motivating their students to read and succeed. We collectively need to share this message with students all over the world.”

The Oprah Show’s Flash Mob video with the Black-Eyed Peas

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Ocoee Middle School

The Oprah Show

Note to readers:

Don’t forget to visit the Successful Video Production resource center. Knowing how to produce, edit, and distribute video gives high school and college graduates a valuable and much-in-demand skill. Go to:

Successful Video Production

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