Category Archives: Literacy

Nutrition Services provides good food with everlasting knowledge at ‘Camp Lit’

Equipped with planters, soil, and seeds, HISD’s Nutrition Services workers had all hands-on deck as they taught nearly 9,000 elementary and middle school students various ways to dig into good nutrition.

The day’s festivities were a part of Camp Lit, a two-day festival designed to promote literacy throughout the district. Gathered in the parking lot of Delmar Fieldhouse, students participated in outdoor tailgate-themed literacy games hosted by various district departments, sponsors, and partners.  Continue reading

Summer reading program ‘block party’ encourages kids of all ages to read, earn prizes 

Summer is the perfect time for students to hone their reading skills, and thanks to a partnership with the Houston Public Library, they can have fun while doing just that.

HISD is encouraging students to join the Houston Public Library’s summer reading program for kids and teens called “Summer Block Party,” which kicks off June 1 and runs through Aug. 1.

Students can receive a free book and lanyard simply by registering. At each prize level, students earn another book and pins to decorate their lanyards and show off their success. They can earn pins by reaching their reading goals, attending library activities, and being an active member in their communities.  Continue reading

HISD mourns loss of former First Lady and literacy champion Barbara Bush

Barbara Bush reads to kindergartners at Poe Elementary School in October 2015.

It is with sorrow that we regard the passing of Mrs. Barbara Bush. It is with joy that we celebrate a life so well lived and an exemplary model of advocacy for children.

Her vigorous pursuit of literacy for all children is indeed but a small testament to the person she was and to what she stood for.

Mrs. Bush’s literacy efforts will live through many generations of well-read children who as adults will instill those skills in their children thereby sustaining her never ending legacy.

The HISD Board of Education sends our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of First Lady Barbara Bush and will always be grateful for their sharing her with us and the many children she served.

10 HISD students to compete in nation’s largest regional spelling bee

Ten HISD students are among 53 spellers who will compete in the nation’s largest regional spelling bee Saturday at Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan (2610 Elgin St., 77004).

The top two spellers will advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., May 27-June 1.

Competitors representing grades second through eighth will come from 1,060 schools in 34 Texas counties to compete in the bee, which is hosted by Houston Public Media. Live updates on the spelling bee will be available on the Houston Public Media Facebook page and on Twitter at @HoustonPubMedia. Final rounds and highlights of the spelling bee will be broadcast on TV 8 and streamed on houstonpublicmedia.org/spellingbee at 3:30 p.m. the following Saturday, April 14. Continue reading

High schools celebrate arrival of Literacy Empowered resources  

All campuses receiving classroom libraries and other materials to support high school expansion of literacy initiative

Schools across HISD are celebrating the arrival of nearly 300,000 new books and other reading materials as part of the launch of Literacy Empowered, the high school expansion of the district’s comprehensive literacy initiative.

As part of Literacy Empowered, all high school English language arts and social studies teachers are receiving classroom libraries and each high school campus is receiving grade-level book club libraries (9-12) across an enormous variety of text types, themes, genres, and reading levels.

On Friday, Sept. 22, members of the Raider cheerleading squad and school ambassador program helped their teachers unpack the Literacy Empowered resources at Sterling High School. Principal Justin Fuentes thanked his students and staff and also thanked the district for the centralized support, resources, and tools to grow secondary students on his campus as readers, writers, listeners, speakers, and thinkers.  Continue reading

Books Between Kids delivers thousands of books to HISD schools in wake of Harvey

In the days after Hurricane Harvey moved through the Houston area, Books Between Kids opened its warehouse to hundreds of volunteers and received donations of thousands of children’s books to replenish schools impacted by the storm.

In partnership with HISD, the organization last week delivered more than 4,000 children’s books to Robinson and Mitchell elementary schools, both recently relocated due to extensive damage directly related to floodwaters from the hurricane.

In the coming days, Books Between Kids will continue its support, delivering 15,000 children’s books to relocated campuses across the school district, including Braeburn, Scarborough and Hilliard elementary schools. Continue reading

Barbara Bush Foundation, partners donate 500 books to students affected by Harvey 

When Robinson Elementary School flooded, their neighborhood schools (Holland Middle and Pleasantville Elementary) stepped up to take in displaced students and their teachers. In order to support students, leaders from the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy FoundationAmerican Federation of TeachersHouston Federation of Teachers, and First Book visited Holland Middle School as part of a joint “Hurricane Harvey Relief: Essentials for Kids Fund” effort.  The groups surprised students with more than 500 books on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017.

HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza, AFT President Randi Weingarten, Barbara Bush Foundation Chairmen and Founders Neil and Maria Bush, First Book CEO and President Kyle Zimmer, and HFT president Zeph Capo observed two Holland MS classrooms filled with Robinson students learning.

Continue reading

Read Houston Read volunteers needed for 2017-2018 school year 

HISD’s Read Houston Read program will soon kick off its fourth school year, and volunteers are needed once a week to read to a first-grade student — either in person or online.

The goal of Read Houston Read is to instill a love of reading in children, while giving Houstonians an opportunity to give back to their community. The program is part of the district’s Literacy by 3 movement, which aims to have all students reading at or above grade level by the end of third grade.

If you have friends or family who might be interested in volunteering, encourage them to sign up at this link. All volunteers are required to pass a background check each year and attend a training session, which is online. From there, volunteers can pick a participating school and schedule weekly sessions with a student.

Optional Experienced Volunteer Refresher Trainings will be held on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017. Please click here to sign up for the 1:30-2:30 p.m. session or the 3-4 p.m. session. Volunteers will receive an email as soon as campus volunteer opportunities are available, which should be the beginning of October.

Focus on literacy expands to HISD high schools with Literacy Empowered

In 2014, HISD launched Literacy by 3, a program with the goal of having all students read and write on grade level by the end of third grade by 2019. In the summer of 2016, the district followed with Literacy in the Middle aimed at middle school students. Now, the literacy focus is expanding to high schools. Called Literacy Empowered, the program is training teachers on how to implement best practices for improving literacy in all four core classes.

“In the coming school year, we are allocating more district resources and tools to support and grow secondary students as readers, writers, listeners, speakers, and thinkers through professional development, online training modules, and just-in-time sessions,” said HISD Chief Academic Officer Grenita Lathan.

High school principals were invited to attend a two-day training in mid-June, and all core content high school teachers are being trained the week of June 26 at Waltrip High School. A follow-up training opportunity will be offered to high school teachers during the week of July 17 at Ortiz Middle School. English Language Arts teachers will attend four days of training June 26-29, July 17-20, or July 24-27.

During training sessions, participants will explore and apply the elements of Literacy Empowered, including disciplinary content, literacy best practices, hands-on experience, and instructional technology. For instructions on registration, see this link.

“In the training sessions, our teachers are learning about independent reading, writing, and discourse, and they are also learning about new resources that are coming to their classrooms this fall,” said Secondary Curriculum and Development Officer Annie Wolfe. “We know that interventions are needed now for our students who read far below grade level, but we also want to put systems in place from elementary all the way up into our secondary schools to make sure that tier-one instruction is adequately addressing the literacy needs of our students.”

HISD has approved $2 million for the program. All high schools will receive books and digital classroom libraries—300 books for ELA classrooms and 250 book club books for other classrooms. Each campus will receive a campuswide license for Achieve 3000, which offers personalized articles for students at their reading and interest level. Campuses will also receive comprehension toolkits and additional classroom libraries for ninth- and 10th-grade reading-intervention classes.

The focus will be on independent reading, writing, thinking critically, and student discourse in a one-to-one classroom environment.

Books Between Kids donates millionth book to HISD student 

There were bubble machines, free books, and lots of exuberant children at Piney Point Elementary School recently, because Books Between Kids was there to celebrate the presentation of the one-millionth book to an HISD student.

Second-grader Justin Ikwuagwu was the lucky boy, and he seemed a bit overwhelmed by the attention. As Books Between Kids staff and volunteers gathered round for pictures, Justin held up the book, “How Much is a Million?” and smiled shyly.  Continue reading