The Houston Independent School District will begin its second year with Read Houston Read, a program which aims to improve literacy among Houston students by having a volunteer read to them once a week throughout the academic school year.
Read Houston Read’s purpose is to instill a love of reading to children, while giving Houstonians an opportunity to give back to their community. It is part of the district’s Literacy by 3 movement, which aims to end the literacy crisis in Houston through its mission to have all students reading on grade level by the end of third grade.
Read Houston Read helps students reinforce what they are learning in the classroom. Students have the opportunity to improve their reading skills with a mentor who is giving them their undivided attention.
“Our nation is facing a literacy crisis and Houston is not exempt,” said Superintendent Dr. Terry Grier. “The HISD team is passionate about improving literacy in our city, and Read Houston Read allows us to take it a step further by helping a child develop a love of literature.”
HISD has identified nearly 500 first-grade classrooms at almost 80 schools, where children are in need of a mentor who can provide one-on-one support. Volunteers are asked to read to their assigned first-graders for thirty to sixty minutes once a week, either in person or over the internet via online conferencing.
Volunteers are required to pass a background check and attend a training session, which is online. From there, they are assigned a classroom and are able to schedule weekly sessions with their assigned student.
Last year, more than 400 volunteers dedicated their time through the program. HISD teachers have said they quickly began to see noticeable improvement in the comprehension and reading skills of participating students.
For more information about the program or how to volunteer, go online to www.readhoustonread.com.