Volunteers Will Help Fort Worth ISD Students ‘Read 2 Win’
Tarrant Net Collaborates with District to Target Young Readers
About 75 local pastors and church members associated with Tarrant Net met with school District officials Thursday evening to discuss plans to launch an unprecedented community-driven literacy movement in Fort Worth ISD elementary schools. If all goes according to plan, this fall church volunteers from all over Tarrant County will help first-graders Read 2 Win.
“We’re pleased to partner with Tarrant Net,” said Superintendent Walter Dansby to the representatives of the largest network of churches in Tarrant County. “We will make sure you and your volunteers are supported and we will do everything to work together to make ‘Read 2 Win’ a success.”
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Starting in October, volunteers will read to first-grade students for at least a half-an-hour a week. They will be trained and tools – phonics cards, sight word sheets – will be provided. But the most important contribution will be their time and attention.
“Volunteers do not have to be reading experts,” said Alleia Hobbs, Fort Worth ISD director of elementary literacy. “Any literate adult can help a child with the building blocks of language.”
Research shows if a child is not reading at grade level by third grade the chances of catching up are very slim.
“The potential is there to make a huge difference,” says Jeff Sanders, Executive Director of Tarrant Net. “There is potential and power in the local church.”
Pastor Sultan Cole, who oversees Tarrant Net’s Project Unite, echoed that sentiment. “We are going to reach out to every church in Fort Worth and beyond.”
Tarrant Net and Fort Worth ISD will work together to recruit churches and volunteers between now through August. A short training program will be offered in September and volunteers will begin their work in elementary schools the first week of October.
“This is not a program, but rather a solution to enable our little ones to read,” said volunteer Libby Manning, summing up the feeling of those in attendance.
If you -- or your church -- would like to learn more about participating in Read 2 Win, call Jeff Sanders or Toni Thomas at Tarrant Net. The number is 817-738-0607.
Among those in attendance at the Thursday evening gathering were:
Janice Heidelberger, Trinity Lutheran Church; Caroline Bell, Literacy Connexus; Johnny Macon, Fort Worth Prayer; Suzette Spears, Faith & Love COGIC; Wendie Lunsford, Genesis UMC; Renee Eiband, Virginia Cook Realtors; Margie Culpepper, Southwest Christian School; Walter Rainwater, Rainwater Charitable Foundation; Cynthia Crochett, Mt. Zion C.H.S. Church; Robert Crochett, Mt. Zion C.H.S. Church; Hector Mendez, Iglesia Bautista Central; Reuben E. Thompson, Community Christian Church; Milton Pace, Saintsville Cathedral; Anthony Callins, Saints Chapel Church; Regeara Crane; Henry Harris, Birchman Baptist; Ryan Murphy, The Hills Church; Darrell Robertson, Hope Fellowship Church; Gary Henderson, St. Anne’s Anglican Church; Donald Holliday, Ridglea Baptist Church; Lee Ann Wright; Crystal Padilla, Waves of Faith; Melinda Veatch, Tarrant Area Community Churches; Libby Manning, Tarrant Net; Mary Spradlin, Arlington Heights UMC; Jacobie Robinson, St. Mary COGIC; Becky Biser, Tarrant Baptist Association; Erik Gronberg, Trinity Lutheran Fort Worth; Jesus Escamilla, San Gabriel Lutheran Church; Matthew McDonald, BSF; Charlie Dyer, Ridglea Baptist Church; Beth Evers, University UMC; Judy Mabbott, LCC; Karla Rodriguez, El Buen Samaritano UM; David Martinez, El Buen Samaritano UM; Eben Gourley, Skyline Fellowship; Roger Sappinton, Pantego Bible Church; Steve Drake, CMCC; Doug Bircher, Fort Worth World Outreach; Amanda Reaves, Victory Outreach;
Swan Cook; Rafael Berlanga, Primera Baptist Church; Gary Crowell, Tarrant Baptist Association; Elizabeth Donaldson; Royce Rose, TACC; David Bowman, Tarrant Baptist Association; Patrick McGrew, Higher Praise Family Church; Trisha Tamsey; and Bernie Hargis, Travis Avenue Baptist Church.