Moral Compass

SBISD Grateful for Barbara Bush’s Literacy Focus

SBISD has been the great beneficiary of the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation’s (BBHLF) mission to improve the quality of life for Houstonians through the power of literacy. 

Three years ago, SBISD and the BBHLF joined forces as part of an international attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the number of students read to in a 24-hour period. On Oct. 19, 2015, hundreds of volunteers filled nearly every SBISD elementary school classroom. They did what former First Lady Barbara Bush often did best: read to a classroom full of students because of a steadfast belief about the critical importance of literacy.

Since then, the partnership between SBISD and BBHLF has bestowed Mrs. Bush’ literacy legacy upon hundreds of SBISD students.

In the 2016-17 school year, Treasure Forest Elementary School served as a pilot site for the Foundation’s My Home Library Project, an initiative aimed at providing children of low-income families an opportunity to have the essential tools that are necessary for reading success – books. 

That year, more than 700 Treasure Forest Elementary students went home for the summer with a personal home library of six new books, each chosen off of the child’s wish list and sponsored by a district or Foundation partner.

In addition to putting books in the hands of our students, the BBHLF’s Young Professionals Group established a Literacy Mentoring Program at Treasure Forest Elementary. The volunteers dedicate their time and share their own love of literacy with district students, reading weekly with small groups to help increase literacy levels. 

This year, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the BBHLF came to the aid of several hundred more SBISD students. The My Home Library Project provided home libraries for all students on six SBISD elementary campuses, helping these students have access to the academic resources needed to regain a sense of normalcy in their lives. In many cases, the new books replaced those that had been damaged or destroyed by flood waters.

SBISD mourns the loss of former First Lady Barbara Bush and is deeply grateful for the support the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation provides across our city and in our schools. Mrs. Bush believed, “If you help a person to read, then their opportunities in life will be endless.” 

Thanks to the ongoing support of the BBHLF, hundreds of SBISD students are seeing those opportunities unfold before their eyes.

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