Finding a school district that doesn’t have a literacy initiative extending beyond the walls of the classroom would likely be quite a challenge these days. And that’s as it should be! Reading is, as the cliché goes, fundamental. It’s a basic academic skill that helps students learn any other skill they will need to develop.

Building a strong, effective literacy initiative takes more than just asking students and community members to read together and planning a party to celebrate success at the end (though the parties are great, too!).

At Garland Independent School District, we’ve found that there are three keys to a successful literacy initiative: establishing clear goals, ensuring equitable access to reading material for every student, and building community partnerships from day one.

Related content: How we turned around our district’s literacy scores

By focusing on those elements, our program has seen amazing results in its first year. While the program is still ongoing, between May 31 and September 1, participants have read more than 109,000 books in more than 784,000 minutes. More than 59,000 students had access to myON in that time and each student has so far spent a whopping 1,326 minutes reading on average.

About the Author:

Dr. Jovan Wells is the chief academic officer at Garland Independent School District. She can be reached at

Add your opinion to the discussion.