Crockett Elementary and Lamar Elementary Dual Language Academy pre-K students and their families had an opportunity to read food-themed books and engage in activities based on those books through Texas Storytime.
“We are excited to partner with Humanities Texas and the University of Texas at Austin to provide such an engaging program for our little ones,” Superintendent Dr. Alicia Noyola said. “Texas Storytime promotes a love for reading and allows families to bond while they work together.”
Texas Storytime is usually held in person at various school and public libraries throughout Texas; however, this year the five-week program began remotely on April 20.
“Each week, families participating in Texas Storytime read food-themed books and enjoy fun cooking and digital activities that support at-home learning,” Humanities Texas Assistant Director of Education Elizabeth Frye said. “Humanities Texas provides kits comprised of the featured books, craft supplies, and non-perishable grocery items for the program activities.”
The sessions, which were bilingual, were developed and led by the program’s faculty director and professor at The University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Denise Dávila, her colleague Dr. Paty Abril-Gonzalez, and UT graduate students and teachers Patricia Núñez and Monica Pineda.
During the first Zoom session held on May 4, students reviewed the book they had read that week, “Let’s Eat! ¡A comer!” by Pat Mora which depicts a family who sits down to eat a meal together. The group also reflected on previous activities. One of the activities included preparing and cooking a pot of beans.
The presenters shared a picture slideshow of students making their beans with the help of their families. As new pictures appeared on the screen, they paused and asked the students to describe what was happening in the picture.
When pre-K student Lander Azua from Lamar Elementary was asked what he was doing in his photos, he responded in Spanish, “I was putting water in the beans so they could cook, and I put onion and garlic in them.”
Along with cooking beans, students also created placemats.
Mike Torres, a pre-K student from Crockett Elementary answered “I made my placemat with my mom helping,” when his picture appeared on the screen.
Marc Ortiz, a teacher at Crockett Elementary and Esmeralda Guajardo, a teacher at Lamar Elementary served as the program’s site coordinators.
“It has been a very fun experience and a joy to see my students really involved in the activities,” Ortiz said. “A passion for reading will benefit them for years to come; something I strive to promote with my students.”
Before they left the meeting, parents and students were introduced to the next book they would be reading, “What Can You Do with a Paleta? ¿Qué puedes hacer con una paleta?” by Carmen Tafolla. The activity for this book would be to make their very own popsicles.
The first session ended with an activity where the students drew paper plates and utensils, and then they were encouraged to turn on their microphones and sing along to a goodbye song.
From cooking beans, to making popsicles, and recreating their favorite book scene with play dough, along with several other activities in between, students and parents truly enjoyed Texas Storytime.
“My favorite part is the way Mike interacts a lot,” Crockett Elementary parent Stephany Torres said. “We send them pictures of the activities, and he is able to express himself. The program is really nice because you are able to get more involved with your child. My son likes doing the reading and the activities in this program. I hope they continue with programs like this.”