Category Archives: Literacy

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

Books Between Kids donates thousands of books to HISD students

Since 2013, Books Between Kids has been providing gently used books to HISD elementary school children. The number of HISD schools that have benefited from their generosity has grown to 69 schools this year, and on May 23, they will give away their millionth book to an HISD student at Piney Point ES.

On May 16, students at Braeburn ES were busy browsing the tables of books arranged by grade level. Books Between Kids Co-Founders Amy Barnes and Sandra Ahlhorn looked on, along with a number of long-time volunteers.

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Summer readers can boost knowledge, win rewards  

It doesn’t take long for students to lose some of the academic progress they have made during the school year by sitting idle over the summer, so HISD is challenging students to use the power of reading to combat the dreaded “summer slide.”

Below are a number of ways to access thousands of books absolutely free through the district’s Summer Reading Program.

”It’s been proven through research, experience, and time that students lose at least three months of learning during the summer if they don’t engage in reading over the summer break,” said HISD’s Library Media Services Manager Janice Newsum.  Continue reading

Engineering firm awards $30,000 to improve Benavidez ES library

Jacobs, an engineering firm, presented Benavidez Elementary School with a check for $30,000 to use to buy books and furniture for the school’s library. Jacobs has been partnering with Benavidez for nearly 25 years in a number of ways, including tutoring students and supporting teachers.

“Thank you so much for your generous donation to help improve our students’ reading,” said Principal Zabeth Parra-Malek. “If they can read, they can do math, science, social studies, technology, anything. Look around—can you imagine what this library will look like with all those books?”  Continue reading

Celebrating Read Across America with Dr. Seuss

This year’s Read Across America day fell on Dr. Seuss’s 113th birthday, and Anderson Elementary School went all out to celebrate the beloved author and the 20th annual Read Across America day. Some three dozen volunteers were honored at a breakfast of green eggs and ham, and other breakfast treats before spreading out to various classrooms to read Dr. Seuss books to students.

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New literacy initiatives put more books into the hands of HISD students 

Two new literacy initiatives – a literacy bus and “My Home Library”– were unveiled by HISD on Tuesday, Jan. 17 with the goal of closing the literacy gap for economically disadvantage children in the district.

The Astros Foundation, Philips 66, and HISD are partnering to send the “Literacy Bus” on the road to distribute age-appropriate books to children in grades K-5 at various city-owned baseball and softball parks renovated by the Astros Foundation as part of its Community Leaders Program. These parks are located within HISD boundaries and serve more than 1,200 Houston-area children each year. The Literacy Bus is a mobile interactive bus that will encourage family reading in Houston-area communities.

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