HOUSTON – Houston is facing a literacy crisis.
According to research from the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, one in three Houston-area adults can’t read or write beyond a fourth-grade level.
Illiteracy has become a multi-generational issue impacting all areas of the economy, but there is a strategic plan in place to change Houston’s literacy landscape.
“When we look at low literacy -- it transcends not only, of course, just those individuals who are affected who don’t have high skills, but it translates into every single one of us socially and the economy,” said Dr. Julie Finck, Ph.D., president of the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, “… And that’s why I think it’s such an imperative for this to be a community issue that requires community action.”
Approximately 60% of Houston children enter kindergarten without basic literacy skills such as knowing their alphabet or letter recognition. Nearly 30% of Houston-area third-graders fail to meet the minimum reading standards.
According to Finck, she and other cross-sector leaders have developed an aggressive plan with a strong focus on family literacy workshops, providing books to low-income families through the “My Home Library” program, which is a partnership with the Children’s Museum of Houston to fight summer brain drain, and identifying more than 60 adult literacy providers in the Houston area.
The goal is to enrich the lives of more and more Houstonians through the power of literacy.