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Student Storytime Program Helps Elementary Students Make Literacy Strides

Heather Smith

At Lockhart ISD, community means everything. 

In fact, having a “LockHeart for People” is the district’s overarching value. District-wide community ties help LISD nurture their other two district values,  staying “Locked on Excellence” and “UnLocking Potential” in all. 

But when COVID-19 appeared in 2020, the district was forced to rethink “community” from a virtual lens. Lockhart ISD needed to continue growing their “LockHeart for People” across the district, even as everything went online.

The Virtual Student Storytime program was established to do just that -- and more.

Elementary students in a Google Meets room listen to a high school student read to them

“The pandemic limited our interactions with elementary students,” Maria Narvaez, Associate Principal of Lockhart High School, said. “We decided to have high school students read in English and in Spanish to elementary students, providing virtual storytime for both general and bilingual education classrooms.”

The Virtual Student Storytime was established by Lockhart High School Associate Principal Maria Narvaez in 2020. Each week, high school students from various extracurricular organizations log onto Zoom and read an elementary-level book. The storytime is broadcasted live to each elementary school, where the littlest Lions eagerly watch and listen to the story in their own classrooms.

The program allows students to forge relationships across the district, build leadership and public speaking skills, and inspire one another.

“We hope that Lockhart High School students can be role models for literacy for our younger students,” Narvaez said. “We envision our students unlocking potential in each other, motivating each other to commit to their own personal student growth as we Strive for 1.5.”

The “Strive for 1.5” campaign was launched in the 2017 - 2018 school year to propel LISD students to expand their literacy skills by 1.5 years each school year. Exceeding the traditional academic goal of one year’s growth in a year means that LISD students will stay ahead of the curve and achieve their greatest potential.

More than that, the storytime program offers elementary students the opportunity to hear from older students who are positively involved with their community.

A high school student reads a book to elementary students virtually in Google Meets.

“I love that LISD found a way for our kids to connect even through a pandemic,” said Jodi Gilbert, first grade teacher at Bluebonnet Elementary. “[The Student Storytime] is helping to build our whole community. It’s amazing to see our students at the elementary visualize and hear from the students at the high school level.”

Way to go, Lockhart High School, for demonstrating your “LockHeart for People” and “UnLocking Potential” in our Lions through virtual storytime!