HOUSTON – Dec. 9, 2019 – Hundreds of Spring ISD students and their families came out Friday evening for what has become for many a cherished annual tradition — the district’s Winter Wonderland literacy event.
This year marked the district’s fifth annual Winter Wonderland, which combines seasonal arts and crafts, games and other themed activities that promote literacy and the love of reading, both for learning and for enjoyment. Children attending this year took part in up to 17 different activity stations presented by Spring ISD departments and high school student volunteers. In an annual highlight of the event, each child goes home with a brand-new, gift-wrapped book of their own to read and enjoy, thanks to the Spring ISD Education Foundation.
Spring High School senior Lidia Garcia was out with three younger siblings, Rebecca and Sebastian, who attend Hirsch Elementary; and Belinda, a sixth-grader at Twin Creeks Middle School. Garcia said that the event is a great way for families to spend time together while promoting literacy.
“I always try to bring my siblings to places where they can see and experience new things,” Garcia said. “It’s fun to come here, and it helps us build our relationship with one another and enjoy being together with the community.”
Parent Lisa Green was making the rounds of the evening’s activities with her two youngest children, who both attend Lewis Elementary School, while her oldest daughter – a Westfield High School student – was busy volunteering.
“The kids have a blast,” Green said. “They really love it, and it’s a lot of hands-on stuff for them, a lot of crafts, which is great.”
Many students were excited about bringing home a new book, although Kris Gordon II, a third-grader at Salyers Elementary School, didn’t need any convincing about the power of reading and stories to spur the imagination.
“I enjoy reading graphic novels,” explained Gordon, who said he especially likes the Dog Man books and has even been working on some stories of his own. “I like to draw pictures and stuff, and make comic books.”
District staff and senior administrators sporting festive winter-themed costumes helped keep the mood bright, reading stories and posing for photos with excited students. Chief of Curriculum and Instruction Khechara Bradford, dressed as a snow princess, said Winter Wonderland was a great way to bring the community together around a good cause.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to show how literacy can be really fun,” Bradford said, “and, as educators, it reminds us of our ‘why.’ It touches at the heart of why we have a passion for learning and education.”
The snow field behind the building remained a popular destination for students and their families, while inside, attendees enjoyed entertainment from groups such as the Lewis Elementary School Choir, the Dekaney Dancers and the Spring High School Cheerleaders, along with alumni musicians from Sam Houston State University.
High school volunteers were on hand to help run many of the activity stations. Spring High School senior Diana Salmeron said she was excited for the chance to help pass on her own love of reading to some of the district’s younger students.
“It’s the foundation of knowledge,” Salmeron said. “Implementing those skills at a young age and fostering those skills is what’s going to build up the next generation.”