Helping Texas children discover the joy of reading

UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Texas is committed to supporting literacy and encouraging the positive effects of reading on children’s well-being and future development.

As part of that commitment, we collaborated with Scholastic Book Fairs to distribute over seven thousand free, self-selected books to children in seven elementary schools across Texas.

Book Fairs help kids find heroes  

At Scholastic Book Fairs, children discover “Heroes old and new…the characters in their books inspire children and send their imaginations wandering.”1

The Book Fairs took place during February 2023 with a “love for reading” theme at seven PreK-5th grade schools in San Antonio, Houston, Brownsville, Mission, Beaumont and Fort Worth.

A total of 3,620 children were recipients of two self-selected books each, at no cost to them. A variety of chapter books, flipbooks, graphic novels, picture books and Early Readers were curated to appeal to all interests and reading levels.

Frequent reading creates proficient readers who thrive personally and academically, and research shows that giving students a say in what they read is key.2

Self-selected books help readers stay engaged

The Texas Association for Literacy Education says, “Texas schools have rich diversity, and it is intentional student selection from a diverse library that helps students make personal connections in the books they read.”3

Children who are given a choice in reading may develop a sense of ownership and may have higher comprehension rates compared with those assigned a reading.4

  • 93% of kids say their favorite books are the ones they picked out themselves5
  • 92% of kids say they are more likely to finish reading a book they have picked out themselves5

“It starts with a choice: What do I want to read?” notes Scholastic. “Feeling empowered to choose their own books is a milestone opportunity to identify and express their own voice, and kids leave Book Fairs as bolder, prouder and stronger individuals.”1

Engaged reading encourages academic development

Many children from low socioeconomic backgrounds are behind in early childhood education; this is often attributed to difficulty with literacy and reading. Poor literacy rates contribute to low school performance for children across America. In particular, schools whose students are in the lowest income brackets continue to experience declining literacy rates.4

Children’s enjoyment of reading affects their reading success through all grade levels and into adulthood. It is important to focus on how schools can improve children’s reading enjoyment levels in elementary school. This focus could improve literacy acquisition, and more specifically, reading comprehension.5

Sharing the joy of reading

UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Texas is confident this initiative will have a positive impact on children and their academic performance and overall well-being and appreciates the collaboration with Scholastic Book Fairs and school volunteers, all demonstrating a joint commitment to whole-child, whole-person wellness.

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