HOUSTON -

Community leaders have kicked off a literacy effort to increase the literacy rates of people of all ages across Houston.

Officials say one in five adults in Houston is functionally illiterate, and about half of Houston’s ninth graders fail to meet minimum reading and writing requirements for graduation.

The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation and other community leaders joined forces Thursday to unveil Houston's Literacy Crisis: A Blueprint for Community Action.

“To break the cycle of poverty, we must break the cycle of low literacy in our community,” said Julie Baker Finck with the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation.

Some of the key goals of the plan include:

  • Raise awareness of Houston’s literacy crisis
  • Every child enters kindergarten ready to read
  • Every child ready proficiently by the end of third grade
  • Ensure that young adults graduate on time with literacy skills necessary for the workforce or higher education

 “The ability of Houstonians to tackle big problems -- to lay out a strategic plan, we can make it happen,” said Houston Mayor Annise Parker.

Leaders say the hope is that Houston will one day become an example for other cities to follow.

Click here to learn more about the plan.