Former First Lady Passion for Literacy

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First Lady Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy

In the U.S. 30 million people over age 16, which is 14% of the country’s adult population, do not read well enough to understand a newspaper story written at the eighth grade level or fill out a job application. Literacy is possibly the most valuable skill a person can have. If you are not literate, you can’t get and hold a good job, help your children succeed in school, or participate fully in our wonderful democracy. The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy makes the development of these critical literacy skills possible for low literate families across the country.

Literacy is a passion for former First Lady Barbara Bush. She has always shared that passion with her children and grandchildren. Her grandson and Committee Chair George P. Bush remembers her teaching him the value of literacy to now only to get ahead in life but to communicate in our country and society.

“I know dating back to her time when she was First Lady of the United States and her time after leaving the White House she devoted herself to being the First Lady of Literacy,” George P. says.

Barbara Bush launched her Foundation in 1989 to fund programs that break the intergenerational cycle of literacy. She has always believed that the home is the first classroom, the parent the first teacher and reading the first and most important subject.

In April 1995, the Foundation created the first annual A Celebration of Reading in Houston. A Celebration of Reading is a fundraising event that has helped adults and children across the United States become literate through the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. The support for this program was so great that additional Celebrations, to support the Foundation's work, now exist in Dallas, Maryland, and Florida. The Barbara Bush Foundation has already awarded more than $40 million dollars to create or extend 902 literacy programs across the country where parents and children learn and read together.

This year’s celebration marks the 10th anniversary of the Dallas/Ft.Worth event. The 2011 Celebration of Reading Dallas/Fort Worth is scheduled for Monday, November 7, 2011 at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas. This special event is also an exciting opportunity for donors to meet some of today’s most talked-about authors, and enjoy a wonderful evening. The night is hosted by President George H.W. Bush and Mrs. Barbara Bush and their grandchildren Amanda & George P. Bush, and features appearances by several members of the Bush family.

Each year, Mrs. Bush personally invites her favorite authors who give freely of their time to bring their written words to life in a professionally produced program including video, a wonderful set, and other hallmarks of a real "theatrical performance." A highlight of the show has always been an inspirational testimony from a special guest of honor - a student whose life has benefited from the work of the Foundation.

Before the program, major donors attend the Authors' Reception where they enjoy the opportunity to mix-and-mingle with their host and the authors. All guests attend a supper among friends after the program and each guest goes home with a complimentary book written by one of the featured authors.

 Authors appearing at the 2011 Celebration include:

  • David Feherty, author and Golf Commentator for CBS
  • Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, author of  ‘The Dressmaker of Khair Khana’
  • Ben Mezrich, author of  ‘The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal
  • Wes Moore, author of  ‘The Other Wes Moore’
  • Helen Simonson, author of  ‘Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand’

Last year, A Celebration of Reading Dallas/Ft. Worth sold out to a record audience of over 1,300 guests and raised nearly one million dollars. This year, we hope to break that record.

Tickets and sponsorships are available. You can purchase tickets here.

A Celebration of Reading Dallas/Ft. Worth
Monday, November 7, 2011
Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas

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