Most Houston Independent School District students will be spending their summer vacation having fun and doing things to get ready for the upcoming school year, including reading a few good books.
Students in all grades are participating in the Millionaire Club, a summer reading program that the district developed five years ago.
“During the summer, students can lose up to two months of learning due to summer learning loss,” said Liz Philippi, manager of Library Services. “This can be prevented by simply reading at least five books during the summer. We want all children to read at least five books this summer so they come back prepared and ready for the new school year.”
About 160,000 students participated in the program last year, but all 203,000 students in the district are encouraged to join.
“If each student in HISD reads just five books during the summer, then HISD will have read over a million books,” Philippi said. “By reading five books, a student becomes a member of the Millionaire Club.”
The books the students read come from a variety of places. Two HISD parents formed an organization called Books Between Kids, which donated about 90,000 books to 15,000 students in 24 schools. Three schools received books from Castro’s Kids, which was created by Houston Astros player Jason Castro and his wife, Maris. Many students also check out books from their summer school or public libraries.
Melina Flores, the librarian at Herrera ES, said her library will be open throughout the month of June.
“This will provide students and parents the opportunity to continue using the library for summer reading,” Flores said.
Flores also said there are other options available.
“HISD has e-books available for every range that students can access on the Internet over the summer,” she said. “Our school has over 150 e-books that Herrera students can access.”
Flores also had some tips for parents to encourage their children to read when they’re not in school.
“Let kids read whatever they want to read,” she said. “If they want to read about motorcycles, football or food, let them. It’s not always just about novels. Think about what we, as adults, enjoy reading – People or War and Peace? We read more of what we enjoy. Also, try making a ‘power-free hour.’ If it has an off switch, turn it off and do something that isn’t electronic, like read a book (unless it is an e-book reader).”
For more information about the Millionaire Club, visit the program’s website.