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Texas Reads One Book! Program Kicks Off in Districts Across the State

Jason Garrett Reads 04.24.2015 — At 9 a.m., April 27, 2015, thousands of Texas students and their families will kick off a statewide celebration of literacy by reading the same book at the same time, led by Jason Garrett, head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. Students will watch a videotaped reading of the first chapter of The World According to Humphrey by Betty Birney to begin the Texas Reads One Book! program, supported by TASA and AASA, The School Superintendents Association.

Through the program, school faculty, staff, students and their families in elementary schools across Texas will read the same book at the same time. Texas Reads One Book! is a statewide version of the One District, One Book (ODOB) and One School, One Book programs, which have been used in dozens of districts and hundreds of schools across the United States and Canada. ODOB is the flagship program of Read to Them, a nonprofit family literacy organization.

The program actively engages families in the reading process, and it also creates a culture of reading at both the school and district level. Families read a chapter from the book each night over a period of about a month. Daily trivia questions, discussions and other activities in the schools ensure that reading takes center stage in the home, school and community throughout the duration of the program.

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Mission CISD is one of the many Texas districts participating in Texas Reads One Book. District leaders learned about the program at the TASA Midwinter Conference in January. Mission CISD Superintendent Ricardo López, a TASA member, immediately saw how Texas Reads One Book supports Mission’s broader Read to Lead program, which is designed to improve literacy rates. As the birthplace of longtime Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Tom Landry, Mission also appreciates the involvement of current Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett in Texas Reads One Book.

“The vision is to transform the community through literacy,” says Cris Valdez, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for Mission CISD. “We want our children to come from print-rich environments and build personal home libraries.” By providing each elementary child with a copy of The World According to Humphrey and actively involving parents in the reading process, the Texas Reads One Book program can play a key role in supporting this vision.

Other Texas school districts participating in Texas Reads One Book include: Alvin, Apple Springs, Bosqueville, Burleson, Burton, Carlisle, Chillicothe, Crandall, Desoto, East Bernard, Ector County, Eustace, Hamilton, Hawkins, High Island, Hunt, Milano, Mission, Nacogdoches, Navasota, New Diana, Northside, Pine Tree, Poteet, Sheldon, Teague, Terrell, Venus, Vernon, and Whitesboro. Individual campuses in about 10 more districts are also participating.
 
“When a whole district reads a book, there’s a whole lot to talk about!” concludes Gary Anderson, program director and founder of Read to Them. “We believe that by involving parents, schools and the community, the Texas Reads One Book program will help participating districts create a culture of reading that extends far beyond the actual time of the program.”

To learn more about the Texas Reads One Book program, visit www.readtothem.org or contact Bonny Urschel, Read to Them Texas Coordinator, at texasreads@readtothem.org.