Tag Archives: literacy

CYCLE Houston rewards students’ literacy achievements with bikes

Thousands of HISD second-graders from across the district will be awarded bicycles for achieving their reading goals for the semester.

Through the CYCLE (Changing Young Children’s Lives through Education) bike program, students worked with teachers to create personalized literacy goals to help boost their reading skills. Each student signed a contract that once those goals were achieved, they would be awarded a brand-new bicycle and helmet.

According to CYCLE, the program not only helps students achieve grade-level reading, it teaches them that hard work equals reward. Students at Eliot Elementary School were so excited about the prospect of earning a bicycle, they came to school early, stayed late, and tracked their own reading progress for months. Continue reading

Local nonprofit to donate thousands of books to elementary school students

Books Between Kids to expand to 12 more HISD schools

The Houston Independent School District will receive 250,000 books that will be donated to more than 35,000 elementary school students to read this summer, thanks to Books Between Kids, a local nonprofit that collects books year-round to distribute in May.

This is the fourth consecutive year that Books Between Kids will distribute free books to HISD students. This year, the organization will expand its efforts from serving 29,000 children at 47 HISD schools to 35,000 children at 59 campuses. Each child will choose up to six books during a book celebration at their school. Continue reading

Finalists announced in last round of Read to the Final Four literacy competition

Of the eight schools that advanced to the Elite Eight, only the Final Four remained standing on Feb. 5, during the Read to the Final Four Literacy Competition pep rally at the University of Houston’s (UH) Hofheinz Pavilion.

After an activity-filled morning that included a dance-off, a science experiment by UH professor Dr. Simon Bott, and lots of cheering (assisted by the UH cheerleaders), the Final Four schools were announced. They are:

  1. Dogan ES
  2. Carrillo ES
  3. Janowski ES
  4. Browning ES

“It was so much fun!” said third-grader Braniya Banks, from top team Dogan Elementary. “All of Dogan helped us log our time to win.”

The Read to the Final Four Literacy Competition began in the fall of 2015, with 6,800 third-graders participating. Since that time, they have logged 6.4 million minutes of reading and, according to the Houston Public Library, checked out more than 5,000 books from its shelves.

Approximately 800 students attended the pep rally, which aimed not just to inspire the students, but to reward them as well for all of their hard work.

The top reader from each of the 68 participating schools will receive a bicycle, courtesy of CYCLE (Changing Young Children’s Lives through Education). The winning school will also receive a monetary award.

“This is a great event,” said Rachel Quan, vice president of External Operations for the Final Four Houston Local Organizing Committee. “It’s the culmination of a lot of different partnerships with the Final Four and the local organizing committee, the NCAA, the Houston Public Library, Cycle, UH and, of course, HISD. There’s a lot of folks involved in seeing that these third-graders get more excited about reading.”

The remaining four schools will continue competing until the final event in April, when the top school will be announced. Students at the other 64 schools should not stop reading, though, as there may be additional prizes for the top individual readers.

Generous donation leads to learning series with noted authors

A generous donation from a community member has led to a unique professional learning opportunity for HISD teacher development specialists and school support officers.

Jill Carter’s $5,000 donation was enough to bring noted authors Kylene Beers and Bob Probst to the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center to host a very unique training centered on literacy. The donation also highlighted the amazing impact donors and the community can have on the education of our city’s students.

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Thirty-two schools advance to the next round of Read to the Final Four

Celebratory pep rally gives special shout out to top five

In a fun-filled ceremony at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, a crowd gathered (and some watched live, online) to hear the announcement of the 32 schools who will advance to the next round of the NCAA Read to the Final Four Literacy Challenge.

The competition was created by the district in partnership with the Houston NCAA Final Four Local Organizing Committee, Houston Public Library, and the University of Houston. Houston will host the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four April 2–4 at NRG Stadium. Thus far, elementary school students in the literacy challenge have reported 1,141,283 minutes of total reading time. Continue reading

Personalized literacy activities help build student excitement about reading

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.”


Summer reading camps keep students from falling behind

HISD’s Literacy by 3 initiative is getting aid from other Houston sources.

The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation has allied with the Houston Area Urban League to create several summer reading camps at various affordable housing communities in Houston, several of which serve HISD students.

At those camps, volunteers read with children, discuss the books, and then guide the children in answering questions and writing out reflections. Each child takes home a packet of books to add to their personal libraries. Many of these children come from homes that do not have a surplus of reading material. Continue reading

HISD elementary school receives $50,000 grant for smart boards, books

Bruce Elementary School was selected this week to receive a $50,000 grant from the Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children, an organization that provides educational resources to underfunded schools in urban and rural communities.

Bruce Elementary was one of nine schools from across the country to receive the grant, which will be used to purchase interactive whiteboards and nonfiction books for existing classroom libraries to boost literacy through student engagement and teacher effectiveness.

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