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SISD students enjoy Read Across America with engaging activities

 Desert Wind students participating in Read Across America

Socorro Independent School District students, teachers, staff and administrators shared in many fun, exciting events during the annual NEA Read Across America celebration.

The weeklong festivities, spearheaded by the National Education Association, aim to promote literacy through spirit activities, literacy nights and more. It’s held near and on the birthday of the late popular children’s book author, Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss.

With the focus of showing students the importance of reading, Americas and Montwood high schools organized events that all the schools in the areas could do together. Some campuses had intimate events such as having special guests read to classes, while other schools celebrated with school-wide Dr. Seuss parades. Students at all schools had fun days throughout the week, including dressing up as their favorite book character; crazy socks day or funky hat day.

“It’s great to celebrate Read Across America week,” said SISD Superintendent José Espinoza, Ed.D. “It’s so important for students to practice their reading every day not just at school, but at home as well. If they are good readers, they will be good at math, they will be good at social studies, they will be good at science and so on.”

The district once again invited prominent El Pasoans to read books for SISD students and teachers. SISD Board President Cynthia Najera; Board Secretary Antonio “Tony” Ayub; Board Trustee Hector Gonzalez; UTEP President Diana Natalicio; Channel 7-KVIA news anchor Estella Casas and U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-El Paso) were filmed reading their favorite books. The videos were shared with teachers and students to enjoy in the classroom. The videos are available on the district’s YouTube channel.

At Desert Wind School, librarian Emma Romero decorated the library into Dr. Seussville with colorful characters including the Cat in the Hat, Thing 1 and Thing 2 and Fox in Socks. She asked community leaders to come read to students, including Espinoza, who read “Grace for President” by Kelly DiPucchio to third graders at the school.

“I wanted them to see that readers are leaders,” Romero said. “Readers are everywhere We want to help foster the love of reading and we want to expose them to as much literature as possible.  I want them to understand that in order to be successful they need to be readers.”

Montwood High School used technology to reach students in its feeder pattern. High school students read to kindergarten to third-grade students using Skype throughout the day.

“We wanted to blend technology and literacy,” said Dr. Kirk Macon, librarian at Montwood. “It was a virtual Read Across Montwood Schools day. The students were great. The response from young ones was amazing. They were so animated.”

Montwood junior Karina de la Torre loved the experience. She read “The Princess and the Pea” to students.

“I really enjoyed it,” de la Torre said. “I loved hearing their reactions. They got more emotional than I thought they would.”

Americas and its feeder schools had their annual Read Across Americas. It was an evening of reading out loud to younger students, creating Cat in the Hat hats, coloring and playing many games for prizes.

Patricia Wilson brought her son, Hezekiah Young, who was dressed like his favorite book character, The Grinch, to the event. She wanted him to see that reading can take you to places your feet cannot.

“It broadens your horizon,” Wilson said. “I am happy because he loves to read and create things from reading. This event is amazing. It caters to so many students.”

Claudia Avila and her son, Julian Victorio, also attended the event. It was the first time for Avila to participate in the reading fun.

“He was so excited to be here and told me I had to come,” Avila said. “I couldn’t before, but I am glad I am here now. He is enjoying himself. These kinds of events help him to get over his shyness. There are so many fun things to do.”

At Hurshel Antwine Elementary, the entire school celebrated Read Across America with a gigantic Dr. Seuss parade around the track. Students were dressed in all kinds of Seuss characters. Some were pulled in wagons. Others carried balloons and banners.

“This is gets them so excited about reading,” said Bertha Arsola, Antwine librarian. “That’s the whole point. Students love Dr. Seuss books.”

Milan Villalobos dressed up as the angry fish from “The Cat in the Hat.” She loves to read because it improves her vocabulary.

“There are so many interesting books to read,” said Villalobos, a second grader. “When I read, I learn a lot of new words which helps me when I am struggling with my writing.”

Emily Valdez, also a second grader, said she had fun at the parade in her “The Cat in the Hat” outfit.

“It’s really cool because we get to see everyone’s different costumes,” Valdez said. “There are some really good ones. It just shows you why everyone likes Dr. Seuss and to read his books so much.”

Published March 14, 2019

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