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

The intersection of Bizzell Street and College Avenue on Monday, Jan. 22, 2024.
Farmers fight Hurricane Beryl
Aggies across South Texas left reeling in wake of unexpectedly dangerous storm
J. M. Wise, News Reporter • July 20, 2024
Texas A&M LB Taurean York (21) speaks during the 2024 SEC Media Day at the Omni Hotel in Dallas, Texas on Thursday July 18, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
A&M predicted to finish ninth in SEC football media poll, three Aggies earn preseason honors
Luke White, Sports Editor • July 19, 2024

Texas A&M football is expected to finish in the middle of the pack in the conference this season, per the SEC football preseason media poll...

Bob Rogers, holding a special edition of The Battalion.
Lyle Lovett, other past students remember Bob Rogers
Shalina SabihJuly 15, 2024

In his various positions, Professor Emeritus Bob Rogers laid down the stepping stones that student journalists at Texas A&M walk today, carving...

Chancellor John Sharp during a Board of Regents meeting discussing the appointmet of interim dean Mark Welsh and discussion of a McElroy settlement on Sunday, July 30, 2023 in the Memorial Student Center.
Analysis: Chancellor Sharp’s retirement comes with new dilemmas
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • July 2, 2024

Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp announced Monday he will be retiring on June 30, 2025.  A figure notorious in state politics,...

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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