Consider these facts:
- In Houston, almost one million adults are functionally illiterate.
- Approximately 52% of adults in Harris County are functionally illiterate in English.
- At least 31% of adults in Houston perform at the lowest level of literacy.
- Texas ranks 47 out of the 50 United States in terms of English literacy.
- Houston is listed at 49 in overall literacy out of America’s 64 largest cities.
- 68% of those arrested, 75% of welfare dependents, 85% of dropouts and 72% of the unemployed are identified as functionally illiterate.
- 3 of 4 Texas inmates are functionally illiterate.
- 85% of teenagers appearing in juvenile court are functionally illiterate.
For more than a decade, the Junior League of The Woodlands has promoted the importance of literacy by hosting the JLTW Literacy Carnival. Emphasizing reading, the Carnivals are held at the Aldine Hope Community Center in Houston. The Center is part of the Buckner Foundation and works with impoverished families in the Aldine area. The Carnival is open to families registered with the Buckner Foundation. Each family attending receives a hot lunch, snacks, the opportunity to meet a local children’s author, and a chance to participate in a variety of carnival games and literacy-based crafts. The Houston Zoomobile is featured, and starting with the 2017-18 event, the AJLI-sponsored Colgate Dental Smile van will be there as well. Each child receives two new books just for attending the event. They create their own bookmarks and make a Pirate Reading Log to take home. Upon completion of the activities, a “Certificate of Completion” from the “Council of Pirates” and a book signed by our visiting author is awarded to every child. Literacy Carnival also posts interesting ideas, educational hints, and pertinent facts about the value of a literate community on Facebook and Pinterest to promote literacy awareness. Literacy Carnival collects clean, gently used, unmarked books from the League membership. These books will be boxed and given in May to Aldine Hope to be used in their libraries and English Second Languages programs. We also participate in Hats Off to Reading at the Mitchell Pavilion in the spring. This event coincides with the Houston Symphony’s Children’s concert that is annually held there. In the past Literacy Carnival has manned the Reading Log tables. Our committee members supervise, organize, implement, and participate in both events to fulfill our placement requirements. We work with about 250 families at Aldine and with about 1000 children at Hats Off To Reading. Our theme is taken from a Walt Disney quote, “There is more treasure in a book than in all the pirate treasure in the World.” Literacy Carnival members believe that to be true.
For more information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sources: National Adult Literacy Survey, Texas Adult Literacy Survey, U.S. Department of Education, University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, Youth Plus, Literacy Advance, Houston Chronicle Readers are Leaders Foundation