Find your next job fast at the Jan. 28 Virtual Career Fair. Register now.
Reading & Literacy

At Puerto Rican School, Lifting Spirits With Read-Aloud Event

By Andrew Ujifusa — October 10, 2017 2 min read
Students participate in "From Reading to Hope" activities at Maria Vasquez de Umpierre School in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. School principal Jessica Hernandez and others organized the event to help students reorient themselves in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

Bayamon, Puerto Rico

Alianey Arana, 13, normally doesn’t attend Maria Vasquez de Umpierre School here. But a great deal is abnormal about her life since Hurricane Maria, and when the school got word out that it was hosting an event called “From Reading to Hope” earlier this week, she wanted to attend.

“It feels different,” said Arana, who doesn’t have any friends at the school, but is still upbeat. “I feel happy because I can see everybody’s OK.”

The event on Monday featured a read-aloud activity for about 75 school-age children and their parents, as well as other physical and artistic activities structured “in order to create a growth mindset” after the disaster, said Jessica Hernandez, the K-8 school’s principal. Teachers trained for the event, including in some crisis-intervention techniques.

See Also: In Puerto Rico, a Daunting Effort to Reopen Schools, Headed by a Determined Leader

“The school is the essence of what is the school community, and the extended community,” Hernandez said. “And it should be ... where the community can come together and deal with these issues.”

Puerto Rican actress Mariana Quiles read The Day the Dog Said “¡Quiquiriqui!” (the last word is the Spanish version of a rooster’s crow) to children of various ages at Maria Vasquez de Umpierre. In the story, other animals pulled switcheroos: After a big storm, a cow, for example, starts quacking like a duck.

Carefully Chosen

The organizers didn’t choose this story haphazardly.

“The story is very elementary,” said Marisa Gonzalez, an English coach at the school who also works for Scholastic, Inc., which helped to organize the event. “But when you look at the essence of the story, the animals go through something like a hurricane.”

Hernandez said the children bring different experiences concerning the storm to school with them. Still, she hopes events like this prepare students a little bit for when Maria Vasquez de Umpierre reopens, ideally on Oct. 23.

Aliancy Arana, 13, passes by the flag of Puerto Rico at the read-aloud event at Maria Vasquez de Umpierre School in Bayamon.

But the “From Reading to Hope” activities won’t erase the memories of the storm for Alianey, who recalled that the hurricane “was scary because of the rain. ... It was terrifying.” One structure attached to her house blew away, but otherwise her home remained intact, and she has the basic supplies she needs for living.

And when it comes to what Alianey misses most about school, the list she ticks off seems prosaic until you factor in Hurricane Maria: “Talking with my friends, seeing my teachers, going to class.”

Events

Teaching Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era
How do educators break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth? Join to find out.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
The 4 Biggest Challenges of MTSS During Remote Learning: How Districts Are Adapting
Leaders share ways they have overcome the biggest obstacles of adapting a MTSS or RTI framework in a hybrid or remote learning environment.
Content provided by Panorama Education
Student Well-Being Online Summit Keeping Students and Teachers Motivated and Engaged
Join experts to learn how to address teacher morale, identify students with low engagement, and share what is working in remote learning.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Join us for our NBOE 2021 Winter Teacher Virtual Interview Fair!
Newark, New Jersey
Newark Public Schools
Join us for our NBOE 2021 Winter Teacher Virtual Interview Fair!
Newark, New Jersey
Newark Public Schools
Superintendent, Dublin Unified School District
Dublin, California (US)
Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates
Superintendent, Dublin Unified School District
Dublin, California (US)
Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates

Read Next

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Science of Reading: Benefits to All of Education
Join Dr. Susan Brady for an enlightening discussion about why and how this has happened and steps to bring the gains from science to teac...
Content provided by Voyager Sopris Learning
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Whitepaper
Using Data to Inform Writing Instruction: Addressing Learning Loss Caused by COVID-19 Disruption
Discover how a new writing achievement tool provides a benchmark to measure students’ writing progress.
Content provided by Texthelp
Reading & Literacy Letter to the Editor More Books, Not More Phonics
Reading in areas of interest can help improve reading comprehension, writes a researcher in a letter to the editor.
1 min read
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Whitepaper
Los Lunas Schools Closes Student Literacy Gaps
Recognizing that improvement was needed to help special education students reach literacy goals, Los Lunas Schools found an intensive, co...
Content provided by Voyager Sopris Learning