"The more that you read, the more things you’ll know, the more that you learn, the more places you’ll go,” were wise words once shared by our beloved American children’s author, Dr. Seuss.
Just like Dr. Seuss once emphasized the importance of reading, Hidalgo ISD’s JC Kelly Elementary educators are just as devoted to building a bridge between a student and a book by supporting students in exploring their identity as readers.
“This past summer my team and I had been trying to find ways to instill the love for reading in our students for this upcoming school year,” said 4th grade reading teacher, Clarissa Cruz.
One of the activities Cruz and her team; Carmen Perales, math teacher and Odette Garcia, writing teacher came up with was Flashback Friday to promote reading in a fun and exciting way. The students were handed a flashlight, lights were turned off, and were encouraged to choose a book from the library nooks the teachers had put together in their classrooms with the support of Donor’s Choose.
“We wanted to build our own little library in our classrooms so that students have access and are reminded and encouraged to want to read more books more often,” explained Perales. “We each created a project to get mainly Spanish books, and we shared the project until it got funded by Donor’s Choose.”
Donor’s Choose is an organization that connects the community with public schools by helping teachers in need by donating the necessary resources. In return, students gain the tools and experience they need for an eminent education.
“Donor’s Choose is not only supporting our students through this generous donation, but also us, as educators which motivates us to be a better version of ourselves in order to be of service to our students every single day,” stated Cruz.
With all the new books, the students look forward to their reading time. They were a lot more excited to read and have that time to enjoy a good book with their flashlight. “In this short period of time, we’ve noticed that there’s a great impact in students learning and in reading,” Cruz said. “Students are not only motivated to reach their goals, but also excited and eager to connect with books that we have here, in our classroom.”
Fostering the love of reading is a pivotal goal that JC Kelly Elementary teachers have in common. Cruz, Perales, and Garcia created a quiet cozy reading nook, an inviting space for students to be at ease, comfortable and motivated to read a book of their interest.
“When we introduced our libraries and books to the students, we advised them that they can surely request a book of their interest if it’s not yet found in our classroom library,” Garcia said.
Nurturing a love of reading at a young age builds the foundation in the students’ learning journey. Literacy encourages creativity, imagination and promotes communication. The classroom environment at JC Kelly Elementary was inviting, and students enjoyed their reading time and most of all they were excited about their new books and reading nooks!