Reading is essential to the lives of all learners. That’s why Mansfield ISD has taken part in various initiatives and partnerships to encourage reading and get free books in the hands of children—especially as summer vacation draws nearer.
Every MISD campus held a two-week book drive to collect new and gently used books. The Race to Kindness Book Drive was started by 10-year-old Orion Jean, a fifth grade student at Mary Orr Intermediate School. The goal was to collect as many books as possible and give them to kids in the community who may not have any.
“Putting a book in a child’s hand really can change their life,” said Lesley Norris, librarian at Nancy Neal Elementary School. “Having them read a book and connecting it to themselves will really change their outlook, and where they want to go in life and maybe what they want to do.”
Families at Neal Elementary School donated more than 250 books for the drive, which ended May 21. Thousands were collected in total across the district.
Kristi Gonzales, English language arts and reading coordinator, said the drive was just the first step in the district’s plan of preventing a decline in reading ability and other academic skills in the summer—also known as summer slide.
“Studies show students can lose two months of reading skills over the summer if they don't have access to books," said Gonzales. "Our number one guiding statement is for 100% of students to be at or above grade level by the time they enter third grade and remain grade level. Part of that is supporting students throughout the summer. It’s really important to keep that reading goal alive in the summer.”
In addition to paper books, MISD is partnering with Learning A-Z to allow students to have digital books to read, listen or interact with through games.
“It’s just so important to foster a love of literacy in our students so that they can become lifelong learners because we know that in order for our students to be critical thinkers, they need to be able to read and learn for themselves,” said Gonzales.
MISD offers summer reading challenges and reading suggestions for students in all grade levels. For more information, visit the MISD Summer Study webpage.