Read across Gainesville

Mar. 8—Over 200 people came to Gainesville ISD's first Read Across Gainesville event.

This event coincided with Dr. Seuss's birthday and nationwide Read Across America Events, which encourage kids to develop a love of reading.

"We wanted to do a family event that would get our parents in here," said Windy Fulmer, the Library Coordinator for GISD. "The librarians and I got together and we talked about doing a big community reading event."

Emphasis has been put on reading and literacy the past few years to help improve test scores. Part of this initiative has included providing books to the lower grade levels; previously this was only in the summer, but books are also going to be sent home this Spring semester.

"I'm really dedicated, committed to making sure that we get them to develop that love of reading," said GISD Superintendent DesMontes Stewart at the last school board meeting. "If you can't read, you can't do math, you can't do science, you can't do social studies, so that has provided huge outcomes for us."

In the last Texas Academic Performance Report, only 60 percent of students achieved "Approaches Grade Level" in Reading.

While there is emphasis on encouraging reading to improve test scores, Fulmer is also encouraging the kids to read just for the joy of reading.

"For me, reading is magical," said Fulmer. "You can use reading to learn; you can use reading to go on an adventure, use it for your imagination, use it for knowledge. It's just a magical experience to find a book that speaks to you, or characters that you can relate to and are going through the same struggle."

Fulmer hopes to ignite that passion in the kids of GISD.

"I think that every child is a reader: they just have to find the right book or the right author or the right genre to ignite that reading passion," said Fulmer. "You can't do life without reading."

As of now, GISD is planning on doing the event again next year, hopefully even bigger and better.

State funds designated for family and parent involvement were used for Read Across Gainesville to supply the games and purchase books for kids to take home with them.