Former Houston Oiler quarterback Dan Pastorini was accustomed to passing a football on the field. Now, he passes on knowledge and a love of reading by volunteering to read to a child. Pastorini and gridiron legend Charles Alexander joined The Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation, Lone Star Sports and Entertainment, and Phillips 66 at Walnut Bend Elementary School on Aug. 31 to help kick-off National Literacy Month.
Every September, this national literacy initiative aims to raise awareness of the nation’s literacy crisis. Studies show that children who do not read proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma than proficient readers. That’s why volunteers are so vital to helping kids comprehend the power of being able to read. Continue reading →
All year long, caring volunteers from across Houston have been helping HISD students read by simply going online. But on May 29, students at Paige Elementary School got to meet their mentors in the flesh.
TutorMate is a web tool that allows mentors to tutor students via the internet. It was incorporated into HISD’s Read Houston Read program as a part of its Literacy By 3 initiative, which aims to have every child reading well by the end of Grade 3.
HISD’s Read Houston Read program just completed its first full year of operations, in which first-graders are paired up with adult mentors to build students’ literacy skills.
In the June 2015 edition of “HISD Up Close,” Board of Education President Rhonda Skillern-Jones checks in with HISD Curriculum Specialist Carly Colton and Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation Director Neil Bush for an update on the program’s status.
In support of its Literacy By 3 movement and Read Houston Read initiative, HISD has elected to extend its partnership with myON, a reading website that gives students access to thousands of titles for free.
HISD first joined forces with the myON website’s parent company, Capstone Publishing, last year as a part of the district’s summer reading program. Thousands of students took advantage of this valuable resource, and now, even more children stand to benefit from the partnership, as the contract has been extended through the end of August 2015. Continue reading →
Now, EMERGE scholar can just wait and let the acceptance letters roll in
Some people thought Olaide Sode was crazy when they found out she was planning to apply to almost two dozen different colleges and universities this year.
But the Carnegie Vanguard High School senior persevered, and she wrapped up the last of the 23 batches of paperwork this week. Now, she is basking in the glow of her accomplishment—and waiting for the acceptance letters to start rolling in.
It’s been more than 40 years since Annie McReynolds first taught kindergarten in HISD’s Durham Elementary School, but the retired educator has been back in the classroom since 2014—and this time, it’s as a volunteer.
McReynolds, who celebrated her 80th birthday on Jan. 22, now serves as a reading mentor at the school she helped launch. She was one of the original faculty members when the campus opened back in 1968, and a photo of her registering a student on the first day of class that year (pictured) still hangs in the front office.
“I was only there about four years, because I had two more babies,” explained McReynolds, who later taught at private schools. “But my heart is in school teaching, and I’m still very healthy and active. If I don’t go to the mirror, I don’t know I’m 80.”
McReynolds said she offered to help out at Durham because “I could see what individual attention did for children.”
Read Houston Read volunteer Susan Imre with her son John Lohmann, a social studies teacher at Wheatley High School.
The people who volunteer as Read Houston Read mentors do so for a variety of reasons. Some do it because they simply love teaching. Some do it because they have wonderful memories of enjoying books as young people and want to give that experience to other children. For Susan Imre, the reason is a bit more personal. Her adult son is a teacher at Wheatley High School, and she was inspired by the challenges he faces each day with students who struggle in the classroom. Continue reading →
Representatives from dozens of local businesses gathered Friday, Jan. 9 to learn how their companies could help Houston ISD first-graders learn how to read. It only takes 30 minutes per week, and volunteers can make a difference without ever leaving their desk.
Neil Bush, chairman of the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation and a Read Houston Read volunteer, said he plays games, including an educational version of Tic-Tac-Toe, with his assigned student, Savannah. They also go through digital flash cards and read a book each session. Continue reading →