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El Paso ISD stops for 30 minutes to read for fun during Read Across the District

(EL PASO INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT – Nov. 18, 2022) – At exactly 10 a.m. Friday, El Paso ISD students dropped everything to read for 30 minutes for the annual Read Across the District (RAD) literacy event.

Superintendent Diana Sayavedra kicked off the annual event at Aoy Elementary by reading “Change Sings” by Amanda Gorman to third graders. During the festivities, Sayavedra also announced a new online reading initiative called “Buenas Noches, El Paso.” The series will feature El Paso celebrities, teachers, administrators and other community members reading books online for children to watch on

“I look forward to launching the ‘Buenas Noches, El Paso’ series for our community. The initiative will give our students an opportunity to have stories read to them online, at any time,” Sayavedra said. “It’s a great compliment to our Read Across the District literacy initiative which both engages the community and encourages literacy.”

Read Across the District, or RAD, brings together students, teachers and their families to further develop a love of reading with fun literacy activities that include themed parties, guest readers and special visitors to libraries.

“It’s the big event,” said Aoy librarian Imelda Sanchez. “It shows students how important it is to read for fun because we drop everything and read for 30 minutes. It helps us stress the importance of reading. We have to make reading a habit and get students used to having books in their hands. From there, they can start reading e-books and other technology.”

El Paso ISD started RAD in 2014 when it combined the literacy initiative with district goals to engage the community. Campuses throughout El Paso ISD invite civic leaders, business partners, celebrity readers and other volunteers to their schools to read to students in younger grades. In middle and high schools, students participate by having teachers encourage the use of digital or paper reading materials during the 30-minute event.

“I’m excited that I got to do Read Across the District. It’s my first time,” said Matteo Garcia, an Aoy student ambassador who escorted community members to read in classrooms. “I think it’s a good idea to learn more words and have fun with reading with your friends.”

Aoy fourth grader Laelah Ornelas also escorted guest readers to classrooms and to the library. She couldn’t wait to get her hands on a book to read for 30 minutes.

“I love reading,” she said. “Not all books are about information. There are also books that are fun. I just love reading and learning new things.”