Better Together, Tarrant Literacy Coalition join forces to promote literacy in Tarrant County

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    More than 1,500 books were donated to TCU student organization Better Together for families at the Better Together Reading Party Monday night, the organization's president Paige Wells said.

    Created this year, Better Together is an interfaith community service organization which helps children and adults in Tarrant County learn to read and write. Together with the Tarrant Literacy Coalition, the organization looked to promote literacy throughout the holiday season.

    Wells said the books at the event were from a book drive the organization held in the TCU library mall in late October. Starpoint School, an elementary school on campus for children with learning differences, donated more than 1,300 of the books, Wells said.

    The reading party offered up two hours of food, reading time and learning. Better Together members also dressed up as book characters like Cinderella, Belle from “Beauty and the Beast” and Katniss from “The Hunger Games” to get children excited about reading, Wells said.

    Each child could also play games, ranging from a tossing game to musical chairs, for the chance to win a red ticket that was exchangeable for a book from the drive, Tarrant Literacy Coalition executive director Kathryn Thompson said.

    A “bookstore” was set up in the corner of the library at the Family Resource Center in White Settlement ISD, where the children could browse through books from an elementary to middle school reading level and “purchase” them with their tickets, Wells said.

    Parents and other adults who were a part of the Tarrant Literacy Coalition’s GED program brought their children to the event to show them the importance of reading and to put an early emphasis on their education, Thompson said.

    “I thought it was something good for my children to come to, to learn everything and see what I’m doing in my school,” Tarrant Literacy Coalition GED student Brisia Rodelas said.

    Students in the GED program meet every Tuesday and Thursday to prepare for the exam, studying topics from math to language arts, in order to get better jobs and become good role models for their children, Thompson said.

    “Their kids see their parents studying and they see them placing an emphasis on education,” she said. “So it’s just a great program and a great way for them to model that to their kids.”

    Thompson said she estimated each family left with as many as four or five books for every child in their family, which included an extra bag of books the organizations gave to each family as holiday gifts.

    “Many of these families don’t have lots of books in their home, and some of them probably don’t have any books in their home,” Thompson said. “So they came tonight, they got some books, they were able to take them with them, and it was just an incredible event.”

    Thompson said books left over from the reading party would go to a Tarrant Literacy Coalition event for families in February.