One hour, one day, five school districts, 186 classrooms, 500 volunteers, 3,441 second-graders – all combine to make up Lubbock Area United Way’s first United We Read event.
Police officers, firefighters, nurses, doctors, bankers, realtors, and men and women from all types of vocations volunteered to spend an hour of their day reading The Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier and assisting with craft activities based on the book. Prior to the day, dozens of volunteers packed books and craft materials in bags and delivered them to schools. Every child went home with a copy of the book, including Spanish-speaking students who received a Spanish version.
The purpose of the event was simple – to show these students that they matter and their education matters.
We know that from ages 0-8 children learn to read. From ages 9 on, children are reading to learn. When children do not master reading by this time in life, they begin to fall behind in school. Lubbock Area United Way hopes that this event inspires children to read and inspires parents to read to and with their children so that every child will be a grade-level reader by third grade.
Beyond this, it was amazing to see our community pull together and collaborate to make this event a reality – from the school districts to local government to the news media to the volunteers and sponsors for this event – it was a show of goodwill and of community that will impact these students for the rest of their lives. They will remember when the mayor, the police chief, the bank president, or whoever it was took time out of their day to come to their classroom and read.
Because … United We Read.
Special thanks to Lubbock ISD, Frenship ISD, Lubbock-Cooper ISD, Shallowater ISD, and New Deal ISD and to our sponsors Covenant Children's, Betenbough Homes, Scholastic, and United Supermarkets.