Tens of thousands of Texas elementary school students and their families read The World According to Humphrey together last spring as part of the 2015 Texas Reads One Book program. This year, participating schools and districts will read the timeless classic Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White.
TASA and AASA are pleased to partner in this statewide community reading experience sponsored by Read to Them, a national family literacy organization that has partnered with more than 800 school communities in 47 states, and invite all Texas school districts to join in. The sign-up deadline is March 15, and already Irving ISD, Mission CISD, Alief ISD, and other school districts across the state have made plans to participate.
Texas Reads One Book will kick off April 11, when a videotaped reading of the first chapter of Charlotte’s Web by Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett will be streamed into participating schools across Texas. Families will take up where Coach Garrett leaves off, reading a chapter from the book each night.
“Imagine the impact of one parent reading a book with his or her child,” says Dr. Jose Parra, superintendent, Irving ISD. “Now, multiply that impact by having every family in your elementary schools reading the same book. Texas Reads One Book helps school districts impact families by creating a culture of literacy in every home and throughout the community while simultaneously giving parents a meaningful, structured, enjoyable way to interact with their children in the home.”
The program actively engages elementary school families in the reading process, and it also builds interest in reading at both the school and district level. Families read a chapter from the selected book each night over a period of about a month. Daily trivia questions, discussions, and other school-based activities further build the excitement. Everyone reads—students, their families, teachers, bus drivers, custodians, local business owners and employees—ensuring that reading takes center stage throughout the community for the duration of the program.
“When a whole district reads a book, there’s a whole lot to talk about!” says Gary Anderson, founder of Read to Them. “We believe that by involving parents, schools, and the community, the Texas Reads One Book program will help participating districts create a culture of reading that extends far beyond the actual time of the program.”
Participating schools receive everything they need for the program, including a copy of Charlotte’s Web for each student, in-school activities, assembly ideas, teacher resources, and family and community engagement tools.
Cost per student is $5.95, and districts and schools can fund the program in a variety of ways. Some use Title I funds or apply for grants. Others seek support from businesses and community organizations. At the school level, PTA groups might provide funding.
Get on board for the 2016 Texas Reads One Book program by March 15 by contacting Cathy Mitchell of Read to Them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 804-334-5872.