Photo courtesy SISD

Students celebrate love of reading, activities during Bluebonnet Bash

Socorro Independent School District librarians and elementary students celebrated their passion for reading with activities and games during the virtual Bluebonnet Bash, a spin-off from the district’s annual Battle of the Bluebonnets reading competition.

More than 230 students in elementary schools across the district participated in activities based on books selected from the Texas Bluebonnets Award nomination reading list.

Students were engaged with activities such as a bingo game with facts about Martin Luther King Jr., Disney trivia using the game-based learning platform Kahoot, drawing Minecraft selfies, and designing their own school using a graphic design platform called Canva.

As part of the Bluebonnet Bash, students had to read at least five books from the nomination list to vote for their favorite book for the Texas Bluebonnet Award.  The 2021 Texas Bluebonnet Award winner this year was “If I Built a School” by Chris Van Dusen. The winner is chosen by votes from students across Texas.

Marcy Sparks, Library Media Services coordinator for the Socorro Independent School District, said it was important to continue to encourage the students through their love for reading.

“This year because of the pandemic we tried to come up with something that was just as fun, but not as stressful,” Sparks said. “We didn’t want the competition to be what was driving everybody. The goal this year was to focus on the stories and maintain a sense of community which is really what Bluebonnets is all about.”

Roxanne De Leon, a fourth-grade student at Helen Ball Elementary School, said it was different participating in the Bluebonnets event in a virtual setting, but she was glad to still be able to be part of it this year.

“I like reading because you can imagine your own world and you can just get away from stuff, like corona,” De Leon said. “It’s just fun.”

De Leon, whose favorite book on the Bluebonnets Award list was “The Strangers,” said it is important to read because you can learn to read, pronounce words, and write better.

Her school’s librarian, Erin Sanchez, said it was critical for the librarians to keep up the spirit of the Bluebonnet activities to keep students reading, learning, and socializing.

“I just wanted them to have a place where they had a friend to talk to because right now a lot of them don’t get to see their friends every day,” Sanchez said. “It gives them a little sense of normalcy and it also helps bring a sense of community that a public school can really provide.”

H.D. Hilley librarian Roselyn Morales said she particularly enjoyed this years’ event despite the unusual circumstances.

“We wanted to continue the Bluebonnet tradition,” Morales said. “We want to make sure we’re always promoting reading and having fun with books, and we didn’t want to take that away just because we’re virtual.”

The librarians were glad that they could bring joy through reading for their students.

“I really felt the excitement and enthusiasm the librarians had, and they did a great job of having really fun activities,” Sparks said. “The kids had a great time, and I was really proud of them for participating.”

Third-grade students from H.D. Hilley echoed the excitement over this year’s event.

“I liked it a lot because we did a lot of activities and it was really fun,” said Krystalbella Duarte.

Duarte said her favorite book from the reading list was “If I Build A School” and her favorite Bluebonnet activity was the games based on Disney trivia.

Dante Rios said he loved all the books so much he could not just pick one as his favorite.

“I like reading because it makes you think and you get to use your imagination,” Rios said.