Start Smart Texas


Start Smart TexasIn 2019, Lubbock joined the Campaign for Grade Level Reading (CGLR) and became a Start Smart city. CGLR is a collaborative effort to improve reading proficiency and early school success for children from low-income families. In Lubbock, the local GLR campaign is supported by a partnership of Lubbock Area United Way, Lubbock ISD, Frenship ISD, and Lubbock-Cooper ISD.

The communities’ action plans address three underlying challenges that can keep young children, especially those from low-income families, from learning to read proficiently — school readiness, school attendance and summer learning. Membership in the GLR Network gives Lubbock access to experts and policymakers focused on early school success; assistance in addressing the challenges that keep many children from learning to read; and access to the online Community Learning for Impact & Improvement Platform (CLIP), which is designed to lower the barriers and costs associated with spreading information about what’s working, why and under what conditions.


Lubbock Area United Way hosted its first United We Read event in 2018. More than 500 volunteers read the book The Little Red Fort to 3,535 second-graders across the Lubbock, Frenship, Lubbock-Cooper, Shallowater, and New Deal Independent School Districts. Every child went home with a copy of the book and a craft, including 138 books in Spanish.

The purpose of the event was to highlight the value of students being grade-level readers by third grade. At this point, students who have not mastered basic reading skills will begin to fall behind in every area of study as classrooms shift from learning to read to reading to learn. The event also created a focus on the importance of parents reading with their children. 

We continue to build United We Read and strive for excellence in the coming years as this event reaches greater heights in Lubbock County. 


United We Read-alongsEvery month during the school year, United Way volunteers are visiting elementary classrooms in Lubbock, Frenship, and Lubbock-Cooper ISDs for United We Read-alongs. Each month we visit three campuses (one from each district), select a grade level from Kindergarten to Third Grade, and read to every classroom in that grade level. The program is an extension of the larger United We Read event and promotes the importance of students being grade-level readers by third grade.

Every student receives a copy of the book read in their classroom and resources to take home to their caregivers. Teachers also receive a bag full of books for their classroom and a treat to pamper themselves.

To find out about volunteering for a read-along, please email


In the spring, we partner with Lubbock ISD, Frenship ISD, Lubbock-Cooper ISD, Early Learning Centers, and the YWCA of Lubbock to encourage families to register for pre-k preschool. 

When children attend high-quality preschool or pre-k, they are...

  • more likely to succeed in school,
  • more likely to have a full-time job and consistent employment later in life, 
  • less likey to develop alcohol or drug problems, commit a felony, or go to prison.

Learn more about this initiative and how to register your student.


In partnership with Lubbock ISD, Frenship ISD, and Lubbock-Cooper ISD, each summer we compile a comprehensive calendar of all reading-related events for youth in Lubbock County.

During the summer months, students risk losing 2-3 months of math and reading skills if they aren't engaged in learning. This is called the "summer slide." Without books and computers in the home and the ability to afford high-quality summer camps, low-income income youth are at a greater risk for the summer slide than their peers.

The good news is that when high-quality summer learning programs are made available and when children have access to books, we can not only curb summer learning loss, we can even help boost student achievement. When children continue to learn during the summer, they are healthier, safer, and smarter, and their schools and communities are more successful.