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“The Hero Effect” Continues with Look at Iowa Reading Initiative

The docu-series “The Hero Effect” presented by United Way Worldwide continues March 11 at 9 a.m. on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network with a look at “Raising Readers in Story County Iowa.”

The mission of Raising Readers in Story County is to improve language and literacy development in children from birth to age eight and nurture healthy parent-child relationships. Raising Readers in Story County is committed to a future in which generations of young children get a solid foundation in reading, communicating and learning. This will help prepare them to become successful students, citizens and workers. Programs range from free books given out at well-child visits, to dialogic reading with preschoolers, to reading enrichment to early elementary school students.

United Way of Tarrant County’s LEARN WELL initiative focuses on many of the same objectives as Raising Readers. UWTC knows that education is the key to success. Children who don’t read well by the end of third grade are four times as likely to drop out of school. Middle school students who are held back are seven times more likely to drop out. A high school dropout earns $260,000 less in a lifetime than someone with a diploma. UWTC combats these statistics with programs like Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which mails age-appropriate books monthly to children from birth to age 5 to encourage a love of reading; and Wild about Reading, an annual event where free books and celebrity readers promote the importance of reading for school success.

GO Centers are another successful LEARN WELL component. At GO Centers in the Fort Worth ISD, full-time College and Career Readiness Coaches help students learn about career options and how to apply for college admission, scholarships and financial aid. They provide one-on-one mentoring to the most at-risk students. Last year, 31,000 Fort Worth ISD students visited United Way GO Centers.

“The Hero Effect” is produced by Dolphin Entertainment. The 10-episode original series focuses on ordinary individuals making extraordinary differences in their communities. It airs on the second Saturday of every month at 9 a.m. CST. “The Hero Effect” was shot on location in 10 different communities across the country. Learn more about The Hero Effect series here.