Early college plus early childhood equals innovative family literacy event

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HISD’s East Early College High School (EECHS) recently held its very first family literacy day—but it wasn’t for the benefit of its own students.

Instead, the event was designed to get some of the district’s youngest pupils interested in reading, and all students from nearby Laurenzo Early Childhood Center were invited to attend.  

“Our students are already great readers,” explained EECHS Magnet Coordinator Alejandra Guzman. “But many have younger siblings attending Laurenzo, so this was a great way for them to act as role models and demonstrate how literacy should be.”

Attendees could enjoy light refreshments, listen to a holiday choir, hear stories being read aloud in English or Spanish, have their pictures taken with Dr. Seuss characters, win free books and door prizes, or rotate through any of six different activity stations, all of which were manned by members of the EECHS National Honor Society.

“I would have wanted to come to an event like this when I was their age,” said EECHS senior Lilia Requeña, as she cut out sight-word flashcards. “And I would like for my little brother to do this kind of thing, too.”

To get the word out, Guzman sent flyers over to Principal Carmen Lopez-Rogina for distribution to parents, and created a video featuring the Cat in the Hat that teachers could screen in the classrooms to build excitement among students.

“We wanted to give parents easy, fun activities that they could do themselves to start building literacy skills,” said Guzman. “Because reading is not just something to do at school, but at home, too.”

The event was generously underwritten by almost a dozen community partners, including Kroger, Half-Price Books, and Houston Community College.

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