October 2018
Dear Houston Community,

Four years ago, I became Stephan’s reading mentor through Read Houston Read, a program the Foundation established in partnership with HISD and the Children’s Museum of Houston. The volunteer-based program enables community members to read one-on-one with a child, either online or in-person, for 30 minutes each week, and engage in activities that help to build better reading skills. Read Houston Read reinforces that reading is a joyful experience and uniquely fosters a special bond between mentor and child. Watch the video below to hear from a Read Houston Read volunteer.

I visited Stephan each week at Walnut Bend Elementary School when he was in first and second grades, reading with him and utilizing other provided resources. I vividly recall that one of his favorite books we read together was Hello, Ocean. After reading the book, we used the resource kit to create a beach in a jar equipped with sand, shells and colored glass. He enjoyed it so much that we repeated it several weeks later.

I recently visited Stephan’s school for an event to kick off National Literacy Awareness Month which provided me an opportunity to see Stephan. Unbeknownst to him, I stood outside of his classroom waiting for him to return from an ancillary class. The surprised look on his face when our eyes met was priceless. And, I couldn’t believe he was so tall and in the 5 th grade! Time passes so quickly.

Although he shared that math was his favorite subject, I was pleased when Stephan said he enjoyed reading and listed a few books he read over the summer. I am so proud of Stephan and happy that he is achieving academic success.

Teaching a child to read is a gift that lasts a lifetime and impacts all generations. This month, we are partnering with HISD to recruit volunteers to serve as reading mentors in one of more than 70 elementary schools. Will you give a year and change the life of a child? Learn how in the first article of this newsletter. Read on!

Thank you for your support!

Yours in service,
Julie Baker Finck, Ph.D.
This month we are partnering with HISD and Innovations for Learning to recruit volunteers to give just 30 minutes each week to read with a child through the Read Houston Read program. For the past four years, several hundred members of the Houston community have served as reading mentors to first- and second-graders, giving them the one-on-one support they need to become strong and confident readers. Whether online through a platform called Tutormate or in-person using resources developed by the Children’s Museum of Houston, you can change a child’s life with the gift of your time. For more information about the program and a map of participating schools, visit ReadHoustonRead.com or email ReadHoustonRead@HoustonISD.org.

An evaluation of the program conducted by HISD’s Office of Research & Accountability demonstrates that the program improves reading achievement levels. We are grateful to the corporations and individuals who have embraced the Read Houston Read program and made a meaningful difference in the life of a child. We invite you to serve as a volunteer this year!
Click on events to view details and access the Foundation's full calendar.
NOVEMBER National Family Literacy Month
Bubbles & Books
Tacky Sweater Party
December 7-8: 3 -hour shifts
Big Awesome Book Sort
For four years running, we have teamed up with Lone Star Sports & Entertainment, Phillips 66 and football legends to kick off National Literacy Awareness Month by sharing the joy of reading with students at Walnut Bend Elementary School. Our high-powered reading team consisted of former Cincinnati Bengals running back Charles Alexander, former Houston Oilers quarterback Don Trull, former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Gerald McNeil, General Manager of Lone Star Sports & Entertainment David Fletcher, and more than 20 employees from Phillips 66.
Community-based nonprofits across our city, including EastSide University Adult Education and Development Center, work hard year-round to help more adults receive the training and supports they need to transition to vocational programs, college and the workplace. For many of their students, they offer a second chance to earn a High School Equivalency (HSE) or General Education Degree (GED) or to learn English, improve basic literacy and math competencies and develop digital literacy skills, including those featured in the photo who graduated this summer.
"Beyond the Storm" Showcase raises $18,000 for literacy cause
Thanks to our partners at Stone Acorn Builders and our fabulous Ladies for Literacy Guild, the Southern Living “Beyond the Storm” Showcase Home event was a big success, raising $18,000 to support local children impacted by last year’s hurricane. The 6,000 square-foot, modern farmhouse was open to the public for three weekends in September and featured an all-star line-up of demonstrations. We are grateful to chefs from Brennan’s, Nobu, Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen, Etoile Cuisine et Bar, Culinaire, experts from Elaine’s Florist, Lindsey Herod Interiors, Buchanan’s Native Plants and Mister McKinney’s Historic Houston, Cuvée Connection and Goodtaste.tv for giving freely of their time and talent to educate and entertain guests. Guests toured the literacy-rich home that included a large library, several cozy reading nooks, and a Little Free Library in the front lawn for neighbors to take a book and leave a book. In addition, the home décor was filled with inspirational quotes and photographs of our beloved Barbara Bush, as well as Bush family books.
The Reading Express, a Making It Better and Harris County Public Library partnership has hit the Houston streets to provide early literacy programming to disadvantaged children from ages two months to four-year-old and their families. 
Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation is proud to provide financial support for The Reading Express so that more parents have the skills and resources to be their child’s first and most important teacher and that children can enter Kindergarten with strong emergent-literacy skills.
Sponsor a child & volunteer through our My Home Library initiative
Schools are in full swing and so is our My Home Library program! My Home Library aims to empower children by giving them books to read at home that they self-select by building a wish list on our custom-built website. With your support, we will be able to reach our goal of serving 25,000 disadvantaged children this calendar year.

You can make a personal impact by sponsoring a child today at MyHomeLibraryHouston.org . Your tax-deductible gift of only $30 provides six new books to a child in need.
Want to give your time to support this great program? We rely on the service of volunteers to make My Home Library possible. October and December for our largest Big Awesome Book Sort (BABS) events ever! We need you to help us sort and bag more than 30,000 books selected by students from 20 local schools.
Children at Codwell Elementary School were all smiles as Houston Texans players Tyler Ervin, Brian Peters and Brennan Scarlett read to children and assisted in selecting six new books to read and keep as part of our My Home Library program. In addition, local children’s book author Joy Saxton discussed how she became an author and shared her new book, Joy and the Far Away Land.
Since March 2018, the Curiosity Cruiser mobile library has made over 125 visits, amassing 6,000 miles across Houston! During those visits to various under-served neighborhoods, the Curiosity Cruiser distributed over 13,000 books to nearly 7,000 children.
Jennifer Hazelton, Donatella Benckenstein, Stephanie Tsuru, Ginger Blanton, Sue Smith, Trish Morille, Lindsey Herod
Members of the Ladies for Literacy Guild gathered last month for their fall meeting. Guild President Stephanie Tsuru announced the upcoming launch of the First Lady’s Book Club in December that will feature New York Times Bestselling Author Brad Meltzer’s latest book The Escape Artist. She encouraged members to join and help set the example for others to help Houston become a city of readers. Betty Hrncir, Grants Committee Chair, announced awards were made to New Hope Housing to create a children’s library in the residential community and to the Harris County Public Library in support of Curiosity Cruiser programs and resources for the second year. Community Book Drive Co-Chair Rosie Damgaard shared that the 2019 drive will be extended to include the entire month of March, beginning with a celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday and ending with an event on March 28 in partnership with the Houston Rockets Women’s Organization at a home game. So, start collecting your books today!

Check out our calendar for upcoming events hosted by our Ladies for Literacy Guild, including the 3 rd annual Power of Literacy luncheon on October 23 chaired by Cathy Cleary and a membership event at River Oaks Bookstore on November 1 co-chaired by Pam Sengelmann and Ginger Blanton.
Our Ladies for Literacy Guild recently awarded a $31,000 grant to New Hope Housing Reed to build a children’s library in the community and provide books for each child’s home through our My Home Library program. New Hope Housing Reed is a brand new, affordable apartment development with 187 units serving formerly homeless and at-risk families. The goal of the community is to lift families from generational poverty. 
Tickets available for Power of Literacy Luncheon on October 23
The 3rd annual Power of Literacy Luncheon is hosted by the Ladies for Literacy Guild. Former First Lady Laura Bush will serve as the keynote speaker in a conversation-style format moderated by her nephew, Pierce Bush.
Proceeds from the luncheon advance the legacy of former First Lady Barbara Bush by supporting literacy initiatives in Houston.

An exquisite double strand of pearls donated by Tenenbaum Jewelers and a pin cushion made and loved by Barbara Bush will also be available for raffle to the public and luncheon attendees.
Jungle Book Gala Kickoff summary
On September 20, Jungle Book Gala honorary chairs, Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch and his wife Erin, joined co-chairs Amy and Kyle McCully, Morgan Stautzenberger and Cameron Stubbs and members of the host committee, committee, sponsors and special guests for a fun evening featuring specialty dumplings and drinks courtesy of our hosts at Yauatcha.

The soirée kicked-off the 4 th annual Jungle Book Gala hosted by our Young Professionals Group scheduled for Friday, November 9, 8pm to midnight at The Revaire, one of the city’s newest and most eclectic event spaces.
The Jungle Book Gala has become a favorite on the Houston social calendar! This year’s black-tie gala will be complete with food from A Fare Extraordinaire, cocktails, wine and Pura Vida tequila, an incredible silent auction and live music by Matchmaker Band from Austin, Texas. You won’t want to miss this wild event!