HISD students slide into summer reading with help from Houston Astros

Excitement was in the air at Oak Forest Elementary School on Monday, June 3, and not only because it was the last Monday of the 2023-2024 school year. Annually, the Astros Foundation and Reliant Energy team up for Slide into Summer Reading, a program intended to help students avoid the “summer slide,” or the loss of academic knowledge and habits formed over the school year. The schools with the most students registered for the program by May 13 were rewarded with a Slide into Summer Reading party at their schools, and Oak Forest won in the category of large public/charter school with more than 300 registrations.

With a DJ pumping music and colorful lights strobing around the Oak Forest multipurpose room, students filed inside, ushered along by the Reliant armadillo mascot, Hugo. Each student was given a Slide into Summer Reading drawstring bag filled with summer reading essentials: snacks, water bottles, koozies, and, of course, books.

“We are avid readers at Oak Forest,” said Assistant Principal Melanie Hines. “We build a culture where kids can read as many books as they want, and we encourage reading through book clubs and small groups. During the year, they learn so many skills, so being able to practice those skills over the summer and just read for enjoyment are key.”

Equipped with their new stash of summer reading supplies, the students were welcomed to the party by Marian Harper, CP of Foundational Development for the Astros Foundation, and Katie Register, Sponsorship Marketing Director for Reliant, who spoke about the importance of reading over the summer and let them know how to register to Slide into Summer Reading if they hadn’t already. Hugo then led the students in, appropriately, the Cha Cha Slide.

“The Astros Foundation is very excited to partner with Reliant Energy, the official energy partner of the Houston Astros, to bring the Slide into Summer Reading program and to encourage kids to read and continue to read throughout the summer so that they can continue to excel and be successful in their reading and their education,” said Harper.

Participating readers log their reading hours for a chance to win tickets to an Astros home game at the end of the summer.