Houston's Blueprint


In partnership with Deloitte, LLP and more than 100 Houston community leaders, the Foundation developed a special report, called Houston’s Literacy Crisis: A Blueprint for Community Action. This comprehensive report released in April 2014 frames the pervasive low-literacy levels in our city among people of all ages and outlines a comprehensive plan that includes goals, strategies and practical actions aimed at increasing literacy rates and ensuring the social and economic vitality of Houston. We believe that if the people of Houston unite around the literacy cause, then we will be able to change lives, empower families, lift up our community, and serve as a model for cities across America.

The Blueprint's Executive Summary is also available here.

Literacy - the ability to read, write, speak clearly and think critically - is, indisputably, a fundamental life skill necessary for success in school, work and life.
— Dr. Julie Baker Finck

The Blueprint for Community Action offers practical, age-specific strategies, detailed recommended actions, and key measurement metrics with the objective to achieve six key goals:

  1. Raise awareness of Houston’s literacy crisis.
  2. Ensure every child enters kindergarten ready to read.
  3. Ensure every child reads proficiently by the end of 3rd grade.
  4. Ensure every young adult graduates on time with the literacy skills needed for the workforce or higher education.
  5. Ensure every functionally illiterate adult is able to integrate into the workforce and succeed in everyday life.
  6. Establish a sustainable system that supports and builds capacity for ongoing literacy success.

we must break the cycle of low literacy

This figure depicts the cycle of low literacy, the implications and the complexity involved in breaking the cycle.


Low literacy has life long impact on individuals. For example, among adults at the lowest level of literacy proficiency nationally, 43 percent live in poverty. In contrast, among adults with strong literacy skills, only 4 percent live in poverty. Studies have shown adults with low literacy skills tend to have poorer health, limited job opportunities, and difficulty supporting themselves, much less their families. Just as troubling is the recurring cycle of low literacy within families. Research has shown a child’s literacy level is strongly correlated with his or her mother’s education level, thus triggering the likelihood of low literacy in the next generation.

Everyone deserves an opportunity to reach his or her fullest potential in life, and all members of the Houston community can play a role in making this happen.
— Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation