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More Than 3,000 Attendees Go Wild About Reading

The 2017 “Wild About Reading” event presented by Atmos Energy and the United Way of Tarrant County was a huge success. The event was held at The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History on March 5. Over 3,000 people of all ages attended, tripling last year’s event.  NBC 5’s Deborah Ferguson and The Step Stool Chef both made an appearance. Children also enjoyed balloon animals, a juggler, and an appearance by The Cat in the Hat’s sister, Sister Cat.

“When you read to these kids and they engage in the story, you can see their eyes light up. I am the daughter of a woman with a second grade education,” NBC 5’s Deborah Ferguson said. “My mom never let that stop her. She kept learning and to read, she uses the dictionary, and because she struggled, I now appreciate reading and literacy.”

Reading is such an integral part of everyday life, and it is important to start children reading early. “The goal of the event is to celebrate a love of reading. We know that dreams for children are often born out of books, and so this is an opportunity to bring families out and get them thinking about their future and making sure they can read proficiently,” LaToya Stewart, Vice President of Community Development said. “In Tarrant County only 30% of children are reading on grade level by the third grade. We know that not being able to read on grade level by the end of the third grade is a predictor of if one will drop out of high school.”

More than 4,000 donated books were given out at this year’s event, and over 100 people volunteered. Volunteers passed out books, greeted the thousands of children and their families, and helped to make the event run smoothly.

“Wild about Reading” was established by United Way as part of its 10-year LEARN WELL education initiative. Reading on grade level by the end of third grade is the most significant predictor of high school graduation. Children who have not learned to read cannot “read to learn.”

This great event was powered by our amazing sponsors:

Atmos Energy
Fort Worth Museum of Science and History
Capital One
Educational First Steps
Arlington Public Library
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Camp Fire First Texas
Clayton YES!
Everman ISD
Fort Worth ISD
Foundation Communities
Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains
Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD
Morningside Children’s Partnership
Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County
YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth

Check out all the photos from the event:

Wild about Reading 2017