Over 300 students, families, HISD staff and community members gathered on Saturday to promote literacy across Houston during the 3rd annual Walking Towards Literacy event at Tidwell Park. The Making It Better organization, a HISD community partner for Read Houston Read, sponsored the event.
The event kicked off with a 1 ½-mile-long literacy awareness walk followed by a family festival with live entertainment, rock climbing, a community food bank, and arts and crafts. Attendees were also provided with books, health and wellness screenings, and financial literacy information.
“We’re trying to create awareness for literacy, reading and financial, as well as health initiatives,” Houston City Council member Jerry Davis (District B) said. “These are issues that plague my district as well as other pockets of Houston, so it’s an opportunity to bring in sponsors and supporters to help with this initiative within our city.”
Saturday’s event kicked off the month-long program that will take place within nine HISD elementary schools. From Sept. 29 through Oct. 31, community professionals and volunteers will read to participating students once or twice a week.
“We want to get parents, teachers and loved ones that support our kids and let them know that we’re in a battle,” Davis said. “We as adults have to step up and work with the kids.”
Kashmere Gardens Elementary Principal Kristi Rangel says for her school, Walking Towards Literacy has now become a tradition.
“It’s important especially for an area like ours to have a tradition steeped in literacy, so it’s a very big deal for us,” Rangel said, adding that her school is always seeking community members to serve as reading mentors, donate books or to help students with writing projects.
“Our kids need to see that the world is driven by reading and writing,” Rangel said.
For a list of participating schools or to sign up as a reading volunteer, contact Kelly Bukolt at email@example.com.