EPISD comes together to show love of reading
(TOM LEA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL -- Nov. 8, 2019) — The Tom Lea Bulls helped EPISD kick off its annual Read Across the District celebration Friday morning with Dr. Seuss and Harry Potter. The sixth annual event encourages a lifelong love of reading by bringing community members into the classrooms to read to students for 30 minutes.
Festivities started with Michael Phillips, EPISD’s executive director of 21st Century Learning, who challenged students to read beyond the classroom while wearing a Hogwarts robe and Gryffindor scarf.
“Reading can take you places,” he told the students. “You can discover new things, travel and explore when you read.”
Soldiers joined cheerleaders, band members and the mascot from Andress High School to kick off the event, also known as RAD. Once the clock struck 10 a.m., students and volunteer readers headed for their classrooms to read together.
“To me, as a librarian, RAD is about sharing our love of reading,” said Tom Lea librarian Lisa Gailey, dressed as the Cat in the Hat. “We drop everything for about 30 minutes and show the importance of reading, the fun of reading and how it can improve us even as adults.”
RAD celebrations throughout the district were varied but equally motivating and celebratory. Students, parents, news anchors, local sports stars and other celebrities were invited guests at reading events throughout EPISD.
Tom Lea invited soldiers to join them at today’s festivities. In a touching turn of events, the students actually read aloud poems to the soldier thanking them for their support and service on this Veterans Day weekend.
“I think it’s nice of them to come to read,” said fifth grader Jasmine Alonso. “It helps children learn more in a fun way and veterans are spending some of their own time to read to us.”
Her favorite books: the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.
“When I read books, I feel happy and think maybe I can write books like that one day,” she said.
EPISD began RAD in 2014 combining the literacy initiative with district goals to engage the community. Campuses throughout EPISD drew civic leaders, business partners, celebrity readers and other volunteers to their schools to read to students. Older students picked up their digital devices or paperbacks to read for pure enjoyment during the half-hour event. This year, parents were encouraged to join their children at school to read.
“RAD is a day that students get to see how much adults enjoy reading,” Phillips said. “It fosters a lifelong love of reading.”
Photos by Leonel Monroy