Personalized literacy activities help build student excitement about reading

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A big part of getting secondary students excited about the idea of reading for pleasure is finding the right incentives.

That’s why East Early College High School’s (EECHS) librarian and principal invited popular young adult author Rosemary Clement-Moore to be the keynote speaker at the campus’ second annual Literacy Day celebration on Sept. 25. It’s also why they awarded a free autographed copy of the author’s latest novel to senior Alejandra Guerra, the student who read the most books over the summer.

“A lot of our students come from neighborhood schools that don’t have budgets to invite authors to come speak, so this is a new experience for many of them, particularly the freshmen,” said EECHS librarian Cynthia Ramos. “Events like this build enthusiasm among students for wanting to read, as opposed to being required to read. Hopefully, that will lead them to texts they wouldn’t normally have chosen. This is only our second author visit, but last year, students told me they really enjoyed the talk.”

Personalizing instruction will be a key aspect of the support provided to secondary students this fall through HISD’s Literacy By 3 movement.

“We want to meet students where they are,” said Mechiel Rozas, the district’s director of secondary literacy, “so a big part of the proposal we’ll be making to the superintendent and Board of Education will deal with continuing the personalized aspect of the curriculum as students move into middle school, because that’s what they have come to expect. We want there to be multiple ways to engage with the content, so we can meet the needs of all students.”