The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Mexico fans react after Mexico F Julián Quiñones 73rd-minute goal during the MexTour match between Mexico and Brazil at Kyle Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
‘The stuff of dreams’
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter • June 11, 2024

As soon as the Mexico-Brazil soccer match at Kyle Field was announced, Jacob Svetz and Caitlin Falke saw an opportunity.  The match was scheduled...

The Fighting Texas Aggie Band performs at halftime during Texas A&Ms football game against ULM at Kyle Field on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023.
Gridiron glory to multi-event marvel
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • June 7, 2024

Special teams: Special events  “My favorite thing about an event is seeing the people come into the stadium and seeing their excitement...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Chris Hemsworth as Dementus in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Review: ‘Furiosa’ is a must-see
Justin Chen June 4, 2024

My jaw dropped open in 2016. Rarely in life does that happen, but the viewing experience of “Mad Max: Fury Road" was something to behold....

Texas A&M pitcher Chris Cortez (10) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Oregon at the NCAA Bryan-College Station Super Regional at Olsen Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
One step away
June 8, 2024

State of literacy in Brazos County on Read Across America Day

Photo by Photos by Kaylee Cogbill

National Read Across America Day on March 2 stresses the importance of reading and writing for people of all ages

Held annually on March 2, National Read Across America Day serves as an apt opportunity to reflect on the literacy status of the surrounding area.
As reported by the National Center for Education Statistics, 14 percent of the Brazos Country population lacks basic prose literacy skills. This communal statistic has socio-economic ramifications. According to the Literacy Project Foundation, three out of four people on governmental Temporary Assistance for Needy Families cannot read. Given the direct correlation between poverty and illiteracy, the inability to read makes life significantly more professionally and personally challenging for individuals in this county.
According to the 2019 Brazos County Census, just under a quarter of the 226,758 people who take up residence in the cities of Bryan, College Station, Burleson and Robertson live below the poverty line.
Former first lady Barbara Bush started the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation based out of Houston in 1989. The philanthropy is a non-profit, public organization that seeks to ensure every adult can read, write and comprehend for the benefits of American families. In 2017, Neil Bush, the chairman of the foundation spoke to Bryan elementary school students in the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center. By working closely with the community, the now-nationally recognized charity pays tribute to its original site.
“The American Dream is about equal opportunity for everyone who works hard,” Bush said. “If we don’t give everyone the ability to simply read and write, then we aren’t giving everyone an equal chance to succeed.”
Brazos County is just one example that proves the rule of general illiteracy in the state. According to the Houston branch of the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation, Texas ranks “50th among states in percentage of adult population with a high school education.”
Even more local organizations exist to decrease the strain of illiteracy. Through participation, donation and advocacy, Pi Beta Phi works for their philanthropic effort, Read > Lead > Achieve, to create a more literate and productive society. Anna Fedewa, the chapter’s philanthropy chair and special education sophomore, said she hopes to impact the children of Bryan-College Station through personal engagement with literary acquisition efforts.
“Every semester, our chapter volunteers more than 1,500 hours reading with children at the Boys and Girls Club of Brazos Valley,” Fedewa said. “This past semester alone, we have donated over 1,000 books to children in the community who do not have books in their homes. For fundraising this past year, we were the most giving chapter in all of Pi Beta Phi internationally.”
Fedewa said the first step in solving the widespread illiteracy of the community is exposure to the reality of the problem that happens in our backyard.
“Students at Texas A&M are largely unaware of the reality of illiteracy that is just steps away from our campus,” Fedewa said. “We need to educate our peers on the needs of the communities around us and the disparities that children growing up without literacy face.”

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