Students at HISD’s Scroggins ES recently enjoyed a literacy-themed “cat-seañera,” thanks to Castro’s Kids, a literacy foundation started by Houston Astros catcher Jason Castro and his wife, Maris.
Scroggins librarian Jo-Anne Reed won a $1,500 grant from that organization for the school, which she used to stage a feline-themed celebration that plays off the quinceañera, a traditional celebration for Hispanic 15-year-old girls marking their transition into adulthood.
“Quinceañeras are celebrated with big parties,” explained Principal Brenda Garcia-Salazar. “So for the cat-seañera, we had music and dancing, in addition to reading activities.” The children also completed art and science activities that coordinated with the “Splat the Cat” and “Skippyjon Jones” characters from books that are popular in the school.
Castro himself came to the campus on Jan. 12 to read aloud to the students, and every student in Scroggins’ prekindergarten and kindergarten classes received a copy of “Skippyjon Jones: The Great Bean Caper.”
“Events like this are so critical for building excitement about reading,” said Reed. “Reading is associated with warmth, joy, and pleasure. Not only is literacy increased, but enthusiastic readers are created and lives are forever changed.”
Reed came up with the theme because the student body at Scroggins is 97 percent Hispanic, and many of the most popular books and series in the school library this year have cats as main characters.