Rialto Unified School District’s Book Mania pushes Literacy through creativity in academics 

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Photos RUSD: Nothing beats sharing a good book and a laugh! Kelley Elementary School students excitedly listened as Stephanie Mendez, a project clerk at Kelley Elementary School, shared a book with students during the Rialto Unified School District’s Book Mania event. The annual event celebrates literacy at all of the District’s 19 elementary schools.

All 19 elementary schools across the Rialto Unified School District enthusiastically became a part of the story during the District’s Second Annual Book Mania event.

Book Mania is a celebration of literacy for elementary school students in the RUSD. The event, held annually at the end of October, took place during the school morning/day and included guest readers in classrooms, costumes, activities, awards for reading, and other events tied to literacy. Each student also received a bookmark to commemorate the day, which students can use to mark their place as they take their next reading adventure.

Sophie Sargcay (pictured center in glasses), a fourth-grade student at Fitzgerald Elementary School, dressed as Harry Potter to celebrate the Rialto Unified School District’s Book Mania, a literacy celebration held on October 28. She listened intently as a guest reader visited her classroom on the day.

Under the leadership of the RUSD Board of Education and RUSD Superintendent Dr. Cuauhtémoc Avila, RUSD Education Services has put a focus on literacy with the “Foundations: Literacy & Numeracy Initiative.” Introduced in 2021, the initiative offers support for students, teachers, and families as students grow and succeed in the area of literacy.

Book Mania was a joyous celebration of literacy and student achievement. Students and staff took part in the fun of becoming part of the story. Characters like Harry Potter, Pete the Cat, Wilbur the pig from “Charlotte’s Web,” the Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter from “Alice in Wonderland,” the Cat in the Hat, and Ms. Frizzle from the “Magic School Bus,” just to name a few, were popular among students, teachers, principals and staff.

“It was a sensational and festive literacy-focused celebration where students were engaged and happy,” stated Syeda Jafri, RUSD Communication/Media Services agent. “Superintendent Dr. Avila visited dozens of classrooms that morning and greeted students, teachers, support staff, principals and assistant principals, as they were dressed as familiar storybook characters. This reading celebration is just another example of the unique ways that our dedicated Central Office and school staff work together to provide innovative and engaging reading programs.”

Books are great to read in any location, including an outdoor classroom! RUSD Superintendent Dr. Cuauhtémoc Avila, center, shared a book in the outdoor classroom space at Morris Elementary School with three classes of kindergarten students and Principal Karla Guzman (pictured left) during the District’s Book Mania celebration on October 28.

The District’s K-5 students were delighted as guest readers visited classrooms to read stories from a wide variety of authors. Leaders in the RUSD from across service areas also got into the spirit of the event. Dr. Avila read to several classrooms around the District (including three kindergarten classes, outdoors at Morris Elementary School). Elizabeth Curtiss, RUSD Lead Academic Agent: Elementary Innovation, dressed as “Charlotte” (the spider from E.B White’s scholastically and internationally recognized book, “Charlotte’s Web”). Curtiss coordinated Book Mania, working with a committee that successfully launched the annual literacy event.

Students listened intently as readers shared some of their favorite books. After the guest readers finished, many students asked questions and shared insights about the books, as a part of a critical thinking exercise.

Later in the evening, families were invited to the District’s “Trunk or Treat Celebration” at 17 schools across the District. Schools offered candy, activities, and plenty of fun in celebration of Halloween.