United Way literacy efforts

Posted Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Steve Campbell's Feb. 13 article, "Texas cities lag behind in literacy rates," said Fort Worth ranks 52 in a comparison of 76 cities nationwide.

A "can-do" city, Fort Worth has recognized that literacy efforts fostered by United Way of Tarrant County and its partners can be key to improving that ranking.

With programs that improve school readiness in the Arlington and Birdville school districts; students reading on grade level in the Fort Worth district; and successful transition from middle to high school in Fort Worth, the Learn Well initiative hopes to count 8,092 students at risk of dropping out as on-time graduates by 2020. The first two years' data show encouraging progress toward that goal.

United Way also knows adults face literacy challenges. Our Earn Well initiative helps them learn English or upgrade reading and math skills to qualify for a diploma or better job. Financial literacy classes teach how to manage money. Our Live Well initiative includes health literacy programs that train adults to take an active role in improving or maintaining their health.

This year, we will enlist librarians and physicians across the county to promote access to health information so people can enjoy healthier lives and avoid unnecessary hospitalizations.

-- Tim McKinney, president

and CEO, United Way of

Tarrant County, Fort Worth

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