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April 13 Community Conversation to Focus on Importance of Early Grade Reading

United Way of Tarrant County, Tarrant County College, Tarleton State University and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History will host a Community Conversation on the importance of early grade reading April 13 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (11 a.m. check-in and complimentary lunch provided by Fort Worth Museum of Science and History). The public is invited to join in this discussion of the issues and opportunities related to reading on grade level in the primary grades and the implications for college and career readiness. Included in the conversation will be highlights of the work of United Way’s LEARN WELL education initiative partners and that of other education initiatives around Tarrant County.

The event will take place at Tarrant County College Trinity River Campus, Action Studio A, 300 Trinity Campus Circle in Fort Worth. Register here.

Panelists for the Community Conversation will be Steve Chapman, School Supt., Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD; Dr. Rebecca Putman, Asst. Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, Tarleton State University; Arcelia León, Exec. Dir. of Literacy & Content Area Literacy, Fort Worth ISD; Dr. Gleniece Robinson, Library Dir., City of Fort Worth; and Cathy Barthelemy, Exec. Dir. of Education, Fort Worth Museum of Science and History

Event chairs are Dr. Robert Muñoz, Vice. Pres. for Continuing Education, Tarrant County College and member of the United Way Community Development Cabinet and Income Council; and Dr. Anthony Edwards, Dir. of Global Campus Outreach, Tarleton State University and member of the United Way Community Development Cabinet.


Education is one of United Way of Tarrant County’s three main focus areas. These are some of the United Way strategies that foster literacy:

Reading Oasis reading centers have been installed in 21 Tarrant County schools with the support of donors and volunteers. The centers provide a place where families can read together and learn how to make reading a habit at home. Each Reading Oasis has hundreds of new books, comfortable furniture and a listening library with a CD player and books on CDs.

Reading Ready is a partnership with Fort Worth ISD that provides first through third graders at 10 FWISD campuses with additional tutoring in reading, using a research-based curriculum three afternoons a week, to improve their reading so they can read at grade level or above. More than 2,000 students have participated in Reading Ready.

Wild about Reading is an annual event where children receive thousands of free books, sign up for library cards, hear stories read by celebrities, and enjoy other activities.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a program that mails free books monthly to the homes of enrolled children from birth to age 5 to encourage a love of reading and foster future school success. More than 140,000 free books have been distributed locally since United Way brought the program to this area in 2008. Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County provides funding.