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Spark a love of reading with the #LightUpLiteracy challenge

By Laura McClure on October 12, 2017 in TED-Ed Innovative Educators



Alejandra Guzman is a secondary science strategist for Los Fresnos CISD in Texas. She is passionate about promoting literacy skills across the curriculum. As a TED-Ed Innovative Educator, Alejandra created the #LightUpLiteracy challenge to help teachers spark a love of reading in all students. Below, learn more about the idea behind this innovation, and get some tips on how to replicate it in your school.


Reading and writing are critical skills that need to be promoted throughout all levels and all subjects in education. Yet many school-based literacy programs are designed only for early childhood or primary-aged children. Alejandra created the #LightUpLiteracy challenge to keep the focus on literacy programs throughout the end of high school — and beyond.


The #LightUpLiteracy challenge is a way to promote more reading and writing across the curriculum in all secondary classes. Teachers, campuses or school districts can take on the challenge by incorporating effective reading and writing strategies daily for 20 days. For ease of implementation, Alejandra created this 20-day calendar of effective ideas that can be implemented by any educator, regardless or grade level or content area. Participants are encouraged to share their daily challenge activities, photos, and/or videos on social media using #lightupliteracy. Alejandra piloted the first #LightUpLiteracy challenge in her district in February. It was such a success that she planned a second #LightUpLiteracy challenge for October, and 9 campuses in her district (2 high schools, 3 middle schools, 3 elementary schools, and 1 alternative campus) are participating this month. A third #LightUpLiteracy challenge is planned for her district in February, 2018.

You are welcome to run a #LightUpLiteracy challenge anytime in your own classroom, campus, or school district. To get started, watch this lesson about #LightUpLiteracy. The initial lesson explains the purpose of the challenge and is followed by ten content specific lessons, which model different literacy strategies using the teachers and students from Los Fresnos CISD. For Alejandra’s in-depth overview of the first #LightUpLiteracy challenge, go here.

Below, read Alejandra’s tips on how to spark a love of reading in your students:

  • Complete the TED-Ed #LightUpLiteracy lesson by watching the video, answering the questions, and adding to the discussion board.
  • Check out one of the three interactive #LightUpLiteracy calendars.
  • Try to do a fall and spring #LightUpLiteracy challenge.
  • Convince your administration to do a campus initiative and include your librarian so you can track the number of books circulated that month.
  • Provide daily, weekly, or monthly prizes for teachers to participate.
  • Allow it to work towards teacher professional learning and/or observation feedback.
  • Start your own reading yoga studio in your classroom or library.
  • Encourage collaboration within or between schools using #lightupliteracy on social media.
  • Focus on the WHY of the project: to create a culture of students that love to read and write!

This article is part of the TED-Ed Innovation Project series, which highlights 25+ TED-Ed Innovation Projects designed by educators, for educators, with the support and guidance of the TED-Ed Innovative Educator program. You are welcome to share, duplicate and modify projects under this Creative Commons license to meet the needs of students and teachers. Art credit: iStockPhoto.

Tags: TED-Ed Innovation Projects