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United Way to Install “Oasis” Reading Centers at 6 Schools in 4 Days

United Way of Tarrant County and volunteers from local companies will install 6 new reading centers, called “Reading Oases,” in just 4 days.

The reading centers will be installed August 11 – 14 in Fort Worth and Hurst elementary and middle schools serving economically-disadvantaged children. A Reading Oasis is a safe, inviting location in a school where families can enjoy reading together, learn how to make reading a habit at home and gain access to books year-round.

United Way is bringing the reading centers to Tarrant County, which is now the first community in the nation to have a Reading Oasis of this kind that combines a cozy reading environment with online enrichment and activities to engage parents.

Every Reading Oasis will include 1,000 new books, beanbag chairs, a colorful carpet that says “TIME TO READ” and a listening library with a CD player and books on CDs. Every child in the Reading Oasis schools will receive a membership to United Way Club Connect, a national website featuring celebrity book readings, author interviews, games, videos and suggestions on how kids can get involved in their communities and give back. Families also will receive monthly email communications with hundreds of dollars’ worth of coupons from participating organizations such as Scholastic, Mattel, General Mills, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg’s and Clorox.

Sponsoring organizations enlisted by United Way have been paired with beneficiary schools from a list of 29 interested Title 1 schools suggested by the Fort Worth, Arlington, Birdville and HEB school districts.

Reading Oases will be installed at these locations:

Monday, August 11, 9 a.m. –
•    Bellaire Elementary, 501 Bellaire Dr., Hurst (Sponsor: The Ryan Foundation; Volunteer Installation Team: Bates Container)
•    Harlean Beal Elementary, 5615 Forest Hill Dr., Fort Worth (Sponsor: The Lowe Foundation; Volunteer Installation Team: TD Auto Finance)
•    Morningside Elementary, 2601 Evans Ave., Fort Worth (Sponsor: The Rainwater Charitable Foundation; Volunteer Installation Team: Atmos Energy)

Tuesday, August 12, 9 a.m. –
Como Elementary, 4000 Horne St., Fort Worth (Sponsor: Cami and John C. Goff; Volunteer Installation Team: TD Auto Finance)

Wednesday, August 13, 9 a.m. –
•    Daggett Middle School, 1108 Carlock St., Fort Worth (Sponsor and Volunteer Installation Team: Pier 1 Imports)

Thursday, August 14, 9 a.m. –
•    Lowery Road Elementary, 7600 Lowery Rd., Fort Worth (Sponsor and Volunteer Installation Team: Basic Energy)

Jetta Operating Company is also a contributing sponsor of the Reading Oasis program.

United Way installed the first Reading Oasis June 19 in the library of Luella Merrett Elementary, 7325 Kermit, Fort Worth. The Rainwater Charitable Foundation provided the underwriting, and United Way recruited volunteers from Oncor to assemble and arrange the bookshelves, books and furniture.

“We are so excited to have the Reading Oasis at our school. There are so many kids and so many families who love to read but don’t have the resources to do it,” said Luella Merrett Assistant Principal Karelyn Roberts. “We are excited about the opportunity to have our parents come and read with our kids.”

“A child’s ability to read proficiently by the end of third grade can have a profound impact on their educational development and future,” said Emily Furney, Vice President of Community Development at United Way of Tarrant County. “By participating in the Reading Oasis initiative, we can foster a life-long love of books, with the ultimate goal of improving students’ reading skills to help lay the foundation for future success.”

The Reading Oases are among the United Way-supported education activities that foster early learning, reading proficiency and middle school and high school academic success. More than 3,800 students are improving academically through United Way’s Learn Well education initiative.