Valentine’s Day is about love and NBC5 did that Friday by surprising more than 200 children at John T. White Elementary School in Fort Worth with a free book and a reading.
NBC 5 and Telemundo 39’s Reading with You initiative’s mission is to help show students, especially in elementary school, reading can be fun. At the same time, working with Reading Partners North Texas to encourage children to become better readers. The Alice J. Puente Initiative Fund helped make the brand-new book giveaway possible.
Friday, NBC 5 Today anchor Laura Harris stopped by John T. White in Fort Worth to read Henry’s Freedom Box. It’s a true story about the Underground Railroad and one that is on the Black History Month reading list chosen by the learning professionals at Reading Partners North Texas.
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John T. White Elementary is one of four leadership academy schools in Fort Worth. These are schools where students need additional attention when it comes to classroom fundamentals.
John T. White has seen a significant turnaround, for the better, in their students' academic success.
“Our kids are growing by leaps and bounds in their reading,” Nikita Moye, Principal at John T. White said. “We have worked really hard to close those gaps. We want to make sure they are caught up by the third grade, so they can read to learn and not worry about those deficits.”
About three years ago, the school was an improvement requirement school in desperate need of help.
“Every school needs something different and this school needed lots of people to come in. People with different background when it comes to social and emotional needs for these students. You have to address the social and emotional before you can ever address the academic,” Moye said.
“These are LAN schools, which stands for Leadership Academy Network schools. This is a partnership with Texas Wesleyan, where students are continuing to get the help they need.”
These same students are getting help from the volunteers at Reading Partners.
“We have four leadership academies in Fort Worth ISD and Reading Partners is in all of the leadership academies. We work with the children one on one,” Lisa Bracken, Executive Director of Reading Partners North Texas said. “These are children who need extra support in reading, and we help bump them up and get them on grade level. We have a high success rate. 90-percent of our kids hit their growth goals.”
A volunteer-based non-profit that is invaluable to the students at John T. White and others across North Texas.
“If they are not reading on grade level by the time they get into fourth grade, then they are four times more likely to drop out of school. The need and what we are doing is really critical,” Bracken said.
Reading Partners has on-site tutoring at many schools across North Texas and the services are free to families who need them.