Reading and math proficiency by third grade are critical predictors of high school graduation and career success. Research shows that proficiency in reading by the end of third grade enables students to shift from learning to read to reading to learn, and to master the more complex subject matter that students encounter in fourth grade and beyond.

Research shows that early literacy and reading skills are critical components of a child’s success. Parents are a key part of helping kids prepare for school and to meet important literacy milestones. Once kids arrive at school there are many ways teachers work to develop reading skills. Meanwhile, community leaders play a role in recognizing obstacles to a child’s success and supporting schools and families.

 Start Smart Texas, a partnership of the United Ways of Texas (UWT), Texas PBS and the National Campaign for Grade Level Reading, builds on research to empower parents to help with their child’s success. By working with families, community leaders and schools we are building a team to help every child succeed in school and in life. The goal of this initiative is to empower parents with tips that inspire positive interactions between caregiver and child to promote healthy brain development, early literacy and reading skills.  This statewide initiative is dedicated to promoting and improving reading skills. We work in partnership with statewide organizations and local community groups to build an evidence-based strategy and network of organizations that will work together to increase reading proficiency rates across the state.

Although schools must be accountable for helping all children achieve, we believe that schools cannot succeed alone. Engaged communities mobilized to remove barriers, expand opportunities, and assist parents in fulfilling their roles and responsibilities to serve as full partners in the success of their children are needed to assure student success.

Start Smart Texas currently includes more than a dozen communities cities that have developed community-wide plans. For a complete list, click here. Several additional communities across the state are in the process of developing their own local plans focused on supporting student learning from early childhood through elementary school.

Together these communities form a learning community that exchanges best practices and learns from each other’s success.

If your community is interested in joining Start Smart Texas, click here.