The event kicked off at 9:00 am on Monday, October 19th at over 180 schools spanning several districts involving 6,600 of volunteers including Former First Lady Barbara Bush, Neil and Maria Bush and her daughter Lizzie Andrews, KPRC’s Ruben Galvan, Jason Castro of the Houston Astros, and Anne Taylor of Deloitte here in Houston. HISD and CFISD among other districts contributed in the recording breaking for most children being read to in a 24 hour period. The book that was read to all of these students was “Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table” about what it takes to grow and preserve a garden. Many traits learned in the book carry over to real life as kids begin to grow and learn from each other and to reap what they sow as adults. As one of the rules of the Guinness Book of World Records, each student must be “actively engaged” – which can be verified by asking the student questions like, “What kind of vegetables do you eat?” “What would you grow in your garden?” This will help keep their minds operating enabling them to be more active listeners. The Read Across the Globe experience for a newcomer in the literacy and non-profit world was amazing, intense, emotionally moving, and proved to be an
Incredible learning experience. Coming in as my first day as an intern with the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, I was immediately thrusted into taking pictures of volunteers, running around to each classroom getting photo ops, and just soaking the ever-amazing energy of children learning. I was extremely excited and astounded by these well-behaved kids that looked engaged and excited to be there. The whole event seemed to go off without a hitch at Poe Elementary, which I later learned was months and months of preparation and planning from the Foundation as well as other organizations of which I am positive.
Read Across the Globe was an event sponsored by the partnerships of the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, Deloitte, Points of Light and Volunteer Houston. The literacy crisis in Houston is what drove the community to help and volunteer by reading to children on this day and is also why they volunteer their time throughout the year to read to kids. The movement, “Literacy by 3 is HISD’s way to end the literacy crisis in Houston…” (houstonisd.org), which does not only involve the teachers in our schools, but parents, friends, and our community. We all need to help in order to end the literacy crisis.
During the post event press conference, our speakers which included Co-founder of Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation Neil Bush, our President, Julie Baker Finck, Anne Taylor of Deloitte, and Poe Elementary Principal, Jeff Amerson. Mr. Neil Bush noted in his press conference that each 3rd grader should be reading at grade level and there are many students who do not. It doesn’t take a scholar to see why these wonderful organizations sponsored this incredible event as a jump start to fix our literacy problem. Some may question, “Why 3rd grade?” Students should be completely literate by 3rd grade in order to set the precedence for the rest of their scholastic career. If kids are not ready by 3rd grade, they have a better chance of not earning their undergrad and of not meeting or exceeding their potential. We want our young children to be completely literate because as Anne Taylor noted, “today’s kids become tomorrow’s employees”.