In March, Miller Jordan Middle School (MJMS) librarian Debra Castillo wrote and submitted a proposal to the South Texas Literacy Coalition, requesting books for each MJMS student. In turn, the South Texas Literacy Coalition awarded the school approximately $15,000 worth of books.

Just before the conclusion of the academic year, MJMS held literacy pep rallies to encourage students to continue reading during the summer months and return ready to learn when the new school year begins on August 22. Students were also encouraged to participate in the San Benito Public Library’s summer reading program.

According to Castillo, many of the students were excited about receiving the free book because many of the titles provided were series that they enjoy reading.

During the literacy pep rallies, the students chanted cheers about how they like to read, promising not to become part of the 50% of American adults who can’t read and also pledging that they would continue reading during the summer months in order to maintain their reading comprehension.

The rallies featured a fun-filled video that showcased MJMS staff and students clapping to the song, Happy, in which the words had been rewritten about reading. The students thoroughly enjoyed watching themselves in the video.

This special video presentation was a collaborative effort between Castillo and the San Benito High School’s Audio/Visual Department. The high school students shot and edited video footage, adding to the video a song recorded by Claudia Moran’s MJMS girls’ choir.

At the end of each pep rally, each student received a free book to read during the summer.

As Castillo stressed, “Lifelong readers are lifelong learners!”