FWISD literacy initiative kicks off

The road to having 100 percent of Fort Worth third-graders reading on grade level by 2025 has begun.

City, business and education leaders gathered Monday in the auditorium of Oakhurst Elementary School to launch the 100x25 initiative, a program that aims to put an increased focus on literacy for students in the Fort Worth Independent School District. Spearheading the initiative are Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, FWISD Superintendent Kent Scribner and BNSF Railway Executive Chairman Matt Rose.

“There’s momentum in Fort Worth,” Price said. “We recognize that. It’s long overdue that we provide real support with teeth in it.”

The first year of the program will be spent analyzing the existing school programs to see what’s working and what’s not, Rose said. Other plans include creating a common pre-kindergarten enrollment period, as well as launching an online portal to make school literacy data open to the public. The City of Fort Worth also plans to fund a 2017 summer literacy campaign.

The reason for focusing on third grade literacy, specifically, is that third grade is the point in which students transition from learning to read, to reading to learn, Price said.

According to the Fort Worth literacy partnership, as the group is being called, less than 30 percent of Fort Worth third-graders are reading at grade level – that’s three out of 10 students.

Scribner said that statistic is “unacceptable.”

“Childhood literacy can determine success in all subject areas, math and science included,” he said. “This unprecedented venture will ensure that the children of Fort Worth are prepared.”

Scribner said he hopes local businesses and other organizations will partner with FWISD in the initiative.

“It’s not simply an initiative,” he said. “It’s a movement.”

Visit readfortworth.com for more information.