EPISD celebrates Read Across the District at home, learning pods
(EL PASO INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT -- Nov 20, 2020) — EPISD students kept the RAD tradition alive today, taking time to read for fun at precisely 10 a.m. for 30 minutes.
The annual literacy event started in 2014 to encourage a love for reading while also engaging the community. Campuses throughout EPISD invited guests including Chico and UTEP cheerleaders and other community leaders to for virtual visits to their classrooms to read. Older students picked up their digital devices or paperbacks to read for pure enjoyment during the half-hour event.
“EPISD’s annual Read Across the District is our celebration of reading and literacy,” said Whitaker Elementary librarian Leticia De Santis. “It’s an important event for our students because it encourages the love of reading. In a world where video games and YouTube videos are king, it is important to remind students about the entertainment value of a good book.
At Whitaker, parents and other family members read their favorite stories to their child’s classroom via Zoom.
“Creating a place where families are engaged in their child’s education is important to us,” De Santis said. “Even in a virtual world, it is important to share tales that have been a part of each student’s life. So here is to another year of sharing our favorite yarns and creating experiences that multiple students can share.”
Author Francisco X. Stork, who was raised in El Paso, shared his novels and talked about how he transformed his stories into books this week at several campuses in celebration of RAD.
“Mr. Stork expressed the importance of following your dreams and righting wrongs that you see in society,” said Richardson Middle librarian Victor Lopez. “In his case, it was the lack of positive, Mexican-American/Mexican protagonists in young adult literature. This is a message that hit home with the high degree of positive responses from my students and the fact that all of the Stork eBooks and audiobooks in our eLibrary have been checked out.”
Guillen seventh grader Ailyn Andrade enjoyed Stork’s Zoom visit to her classroom, taking in his advice on how to express yourself through writing. Her favorite book, the classic “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
“I like the way reading makes you feel – happy and relaxed,” she said.
The annual event reinforces daily reading and exposing students to a variety of words through books to increase their vocabularies.
“Fostering fluency through stories can increase the ability of any student to learn in all subjects,” De Santis said. “Different narratives can also contribute to a child’s understanding of different points of view and expose them to various cultures. There are so many reasons to encourage a child to read, and EPISD understands that.”
Librarians throughout EPISD have been offering curbside service for students to check out books and continue their love of reading for fun during the pandemic.
“It is important to promote reading from wherever we are at during this pandemic,” Lopez said. “And EPISD librarians are rising to that challenge.”
Photos by Leonel Monroy