Page Turners


This fall, JUSD elementary school families read more than 37,000 minutes together as they participated in the JUSD Family Reading Challenge. 

The fun fall event encouraged families to read with their children for at least 10 minutes per day as part of the district’s Literacy Without Limits campaign to support reading proficiency for all students.

group pic of the 3rd place Camino Real class winnerWinning classes were: 

First place: Ms. Espinal’s sixth-grade class, Indian Hills Elementary  (4,825 minutes read); second place: Ms. Gonzalez’s kindergarten class, Stone Avenue Elementary  (2,085 minutes read); third place:  Ms. McAllister’s second-grade class, and Camino Real Elementary (1420 minutes read).

The top schools were: Indian Hills Elementary with 8,862 minutes read; Stone Avenue Elementary with 7,831 minutes read; and Sunnyslope Elementary with 5,266 minutes read.

Families and teachers said their students gained much more than bragging rights and prizes. They also enjoyed quality time together as students increased their reading fluency and comprehension, and enhanced their vocabularies and reading confidence.

“I think this reading challenge (was) very important…it connect(ed) families with their students and it (kept) them engaged in their reading,” said Jakelin Gonzalez, whose kindergarten class at Stone Avenue Elementary took second place in the challenge.

group pic of the 2nd place Stone Ave class winner“Research… shows that when parents are involved and they support their child at home, it increases the students’ vocabulary and their reading so much more than a student that would not have that family support at home,” she said.

“It gave us a common goal,” added Indian Hills Elementary School Principal Tara LeQuire. “(Students) got really into the competition aspect of it and (were) just really excited and interested in books.”

Indian Hills Elementary School sixth-grade teacher Cindy Espinal said the family connection helped her students to keep going.

“When families are encouraging and doing it with them, I think that motivates them,” she said.

Ms. Gonzalez said she especially loved seeing students become interested in books about their culture. 

“It’s beautiful to see the students learn about themselves,” she said.

group pic of the 1st place Indian Hills class winner“I love …when the kids can get excited about a book and bring it home and read it with their families and maybe if it’s an older student they’re ​​reading to a sibling…just the whole family reading together is so important,” added Indian Hills Elementary Media Center Clerk Jane Reynolds. 

The educators said that fostering a lifetime love for reading is essential to success in school,  and in life.

“We need it in everything that we do,” Ms. Espinal said. “It doesn’t matter if you plan on going to college, or if you plan on… entering the military or doing your own business, it’s really important to have those foundational skills of reading and really understanding what you’re reading.”

“Literacy is so important because it ties into all other subjects,” Ms. Gonzalez added. “ If you can’t read, you can’t write. If you can’t read, you can’t do math. If you can’t read, you can’t learn certain science concepts. Literacy is such a strong foundation. The more vocabulary that you know, the more you can expand your learning.”

Look for more literacy-themed activities and events in the new year.


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