Early Literacy Spotlight: Igniting a School-Wide Love of Reading

Early Literacy Spotlight: Igniting a School-Wide Love of Reading

How KIPP Ignite Nurtures A Community of Avid Readers

KIPP Ignite Academy is an elementary school in South Los Angeles where reading isn’t a solitary activity — it’s a communal experience celebrated and embraced throughout the campus. 

From in-depth read-aloud sessions to cozy reading gardens, reading is seamlessly woven into students’ daily routines inside and outside the classroom. Get a glimpse into how KIPP Ignite nurtures a community of avid readers.

School-Wide Reading Blocks

KIPP Ignite has intentionally arranged its school schedule to include reading blocks, where the entire campus focuses on reading for a designated period of time. During the daily reading blocks, teachers model reading through read-aloud sessions and “think-aloud” with students to unpack and deconstruct the readings to help them build their literacy and critical thinking skills. Students also build a shared vocabulary to express their reading comprehension confidently.

Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program & Reading Awards 

The Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program at KIPP Ignite rewards students for turning in optional book reports by recognizing them with a Reading Award Certificate, good for a free one-topping Personal Pan Pizza®. Students are also entered into a monthly drawing for additional prizes, such as a pizza party for their entire family. At the end of the year, KIPP Ignite gives the top three classes with the most book reports additional prizes, such as a special field trip, an ice cream party, or a visit from a gaming truck. 

“Students are getting so creative with these book reports. Students write about the setting and are able to understand what's happening with stories. Our vision of cultivating a love of reading is coming alive, and we can see it with what scholars are producing,” said Assistant School Leader Christopher Carlair.

Last year, the school received close to 100 book reports. This school year, they have already received more than 300 book reports.

Reading Garden

To keep up with the momentum of the book reports, the KIPP Ignite team wanted to find a way to make reading more accessible and fun for students outside of the classroom. After stumbling on a TikTok video, the team was inspired to create a cozy, whimsical reading garden as a recess alternative for students to lose themselves in stories. 

“Kids want something that will draw them in and make them feel like they're stepping away into a different world so they can really dive into their books. The reading garden helps to create the story that reading is fun. It's out here at recess, and they can explore any books they want. You can lay around in the reading garden, snuggle up with a pillow, sit on the tree stump, and just go away into a different world,” said Assistant School Leader Christopher Carlair.

Reading Events & Awards

Every March, KIPP Ignite takes Read Across America Week a step further and instead celebrates Read Across Ignite Month by hosting weekly reading-focused events, such as book cover door decorating contests, character dress-up days, teacher swaps (where teachers swap classrooms and read to other classes), Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) sessions, and more.   

And they don’t stop there! Throughout the year, KIPP Ignite regularly hosts numerous reading-focused events, including family literacy nights and scholastic book fairs, to nurture an at-home reading culture. At these events, students are also able to take home at least one new book to grow their home libraries. KIPP Ignite also invites families to celebrate and recognize their KIPPsters for excelling and exceeding their reading goals at mid-year and end-of-the-year high-achievement award ceremonies.

KIPP Ignite is fostering a new generation of lifelong readers — and it’s showing in the numbers. Over the past two years, KIPP Ignite has seen an average percent growth of well over 100% in reading, and SBAC standardized testing results have grown by 10%.

KIPP Ignite is a true testament to how students, educators, and families can work together to cultivate an enriching, joyful, and liberating reading culture inside and outside the classroom. 

Learn More About KIPP Ignite Academy