“This has truly been the most amazing experience we have EVER had at our school. It is such an inspiring event for the students AND the teachers/staff. The best part of the program is the excitement for reading that it gives the students. The free books are great but if they aren’t excited about reading then the books won’t get read. We will never forget what the Texas Book Festival and Reading Rock Stars has done for our school, students and community. THANK YOU!” – Librarian at Smith Elementary
Reading Rock Stars brings books and authors to Title I elementary schools in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and the Rio Grande Valley. The selected Reading Rock Stars Title I schools have an average student population with 90% low-income rate, 50% English Language Learners, and in Austin only 45% have books at home. Supporting public education through literature is our way of supporting Texas children and the communities we live in, and Reading Rock Stars continues because of the generous support from those who believe in the impact of books.
What happens during one super fun day with a student’s new favorite author?
Amazing children’s authors like Juana Medina, Wade Smith, Jon Scieszka, Monica Brown, and Carmen Tafolla love the program, and put all their enthusiasm, talent, and conviction into each and every presentation.
Every student at the school gets a signed, hardcover copy of the author’s book, given to them by the author. During Reading Rock Stars in Houston, every single kindergartner hugged author Donna Janell Bowman after she gave them a copy of “Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness.”
The kids get to take that book home, take off the book jacket, write their name in the book, and share it with their siblings. This may be the very first book of their own, or even the first book in their home. A 2010 study by the World Inequality Study found that, “Regardless of how many books the family already has, each addition to a home library helps the children get a little farther in school,” they report. “But the gains are not equally great across the entire range. Having books in the home has a greater impact on children from the least-educated families. It is at the bottom, where books are rare, that each additional book matters most.”
The Texas Book Festival commits to each school for three years, so the libraries receive sets of all the books, the students build their own personal libraries, and the excitement for books and learning is set in motion. Reading Rock Stars is made possible through the tireless work of school librarians, teachers, and volunteers. We are able to buy books and secure phenomenal children’s authors through the financial support of donors.