Team First Book Houston


Team First Book Houston

Please read and view the following information on how Houston Team First Book is "Eradicating Illiteracy."

About Team First Book Houston

Who We Are

Team First Book Houston is a volunteer board working as a team since 2013 under First Book, an international literacy non-profit in Washington, D.C. Our mission is to "Eradicate Illiteracy" starting in schools in the Greater Houston areas. We have developed a pilot program, "Eradicate Illiteracy," at Houston ISD's Neff Early Learning Center in Sharpstown area, in Houston, TX. This incredibly impactful program will be implemented in more schools to serve even more of "our" children in need.


Pictured: Pre-Kindergarten students of Neff Early Learning Center; (L-R) Sheila Armstrong, Houston Team First Book Chair; Molly Maria Flynn Vilaseca, Houston ISD Board Member; Cynthia Cisneros, abc Channel 13 Vice President of Community Affairs; Erik Barajas, abc Channel 13 Eyewitness News Reporter and Anchor; Grettel Monge, Neff ELC Teacher; Principal Gerardo Leal, Ed. D., Neff ELC Principal

What We Do

Team First Book Houston has just now opened a new funding page to raise money in the form of donations to purchase brand new books for children in need in low-income areas in Greater Houston. We have been raising money since 2013 to obtain new books for students in Title 1 areas which happen to be dense Hispanic areas. The need is great now because books that we have previously distributed have been damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Harvey.


We are focused on helping families in low-income areas who need to learn to read and speak English. We distribute these new books to children's hospitals, women's centers, and schools in the Houston ISD as well as other school districts in the Greater Houston area. Our students are 4 years of age to seniors in high school and they pledge to read to others and teach others to read. We record and maintain data collected through reading assessments and teacher feedback to track how our students are progressing. 

Why We Do What We Do

A 7 year-old student in the 1st grade was asked what would he do now that he could take home his brand new books? 

"I am a good reader now, but now I will become a great reader."  

When he was asked, "what is your goal?" 

"My goal is to become a heart doctor. I will fix people's hearts so they will feel good. And when they feel good, they will do good for others."  

This is why we volunteers, as a Team under First Book in Washington D. C., plus our partners are working so hard.  Our students are traumatized by Harvey.  They worry when it rains.  We need to raise money to put new books into these

children's hands so they can take them to their shelters or damaged homes.

These books are going to be the first thing they can call their own since Hurricane Harvey.  

Our students say the following "Promise" every morning and evening after they finish brushing their teeth. They put their right hand over their heart, look in the mirror and say out loud:

"I am smart.  I am important. I read to others. And I teach others to read. I promise."

The data collected from this pilot program for students in Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, and First grades is proving that "Eradicating Illiteracy" is working. Some students read above grade level and most are reading on grade level.

38% of Houston children 5 years and younger live in poverty and that percentage have grown since Harvey.

"Eradicating Illiteracy"

Here is our 15-minute award-winning documentary, "Eradicating Illiteracy, 2015." 

Team First Book Houston, the staff and students of the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication of the University of Houston have won 3 GOLD REMI AWARDS from the WorldFest International Film Festival. At April of 2017 gala, there were attendees from 74 different countries with over 4,500 submissions! DISNEY is using the documentary you will view for their National Reading Campaign across the United States of America.

How We Are "Eradicating Illiteracy"

Team First Book Houston works with many partners: Channel 13 abc; DISNEY; Richard Carranza, Superintendent of Houston ISD; Bill Palko, Rotary District Governor of 5890 with 62 Rotary Clubs, including Sharpstown, Houston, and North Shore, as well as other Rotary Clubs and Rotarians.

We work with the students and faculty of the University of Houston's Jack J. Valenti School of Communication to create award-winning documentaries. Our "Eradicating Illiteracy" of 2015" documentary won a GOLD REMI award and was used by DISNEY in their National Reading Campaign. Our documentaries capture the excitement of students receiving their new books while highlighting the importance of community, partnership, volunteerism, and literacy. 

We work with several other partners who are also determined to "Eradicate Illiteracy," such as the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, Home Depot, Frost Bank, Kroger, Office Depot, Walmart, GoDaddy, and private individuals, including Charlie Davis and many others.

We thank our volunteers and our partners for their commitment to "Eradicating Illiteracy," which is an investment in "our" children, and for everyone's generous donations! However, most of our children are traumatized by Harvey.  We are also receiving more immigrants plus homeless children. The need is so great! 


Please help us put new books into the hands of "our" children so they can feel that they are getting back to normal.  We will be able to replace some of the books they have lost during Harvey.  These books will take their minds off the the affects of Harvey and let them be children again without worries while reading their books.  Plus they will read to others and teach others to read!


Our funding campaign will end December 15, 2017.  Please make your generous donation now.  "Our" children need our help now. Thank you for donating right now. "Our" children deserve to be free of worry and learn to read! 


We are a 501 (c) 3 non-profit under First Book in Washington, D.C. 


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