H-E-B celebrates one-year anniversary of Read 3 early childhood literacy initiative

In September, H-E-B celebrated the one-year anniversary of Read 3, its early childhood literacy initiative, with a Texas-sized book drive, author readings and literacy-themed bake-offs all over the state.

Participating authors included San Antonio poet laureate Carmen Tafolla, novelists Andrew Porter and Oscar Casares and children’s author Diane Gonzales Bertrand.

Read 3 encourages parents to read to their children at least three times a week to build a strong foundation for early literacy. However, access to books can be a significant problem for many low-income families. H-E-B has increased its book offerings and placed literacy centers in 14 stores statewide to serve as a community hub for story times, character appearances and book signings with popular authors.

From Sept. 12-25, H-E-B encouraged customers to drop off new and gently used children’s books in special collection bins in all stores with a goal of collecting 1 million books. Books will be donated to children in need through schools, libraries, nonprofits and H-E-B’s annual Feast of Sharing dinners.  If you know of an organization in need of books, applications can be found at www.heb.com/read3.

To date, H-E-B has given away more than 1 million books through donations and free books offered with Combo Locos and Meal Deals.

In addition to in-store activities, H-E-B is partnering with schools and universities to provide family literacy and nutrition workshops that prepare 3 and 4-year-olds and their parents for kindergarten. To date, those workshops have served 645 families in Brownsville, San Antonio and Laredo, with plans to expand into San Marcos, Waco, Beaumont and Uvalde this fall.

“It is absolutely critical that parents introduce children to letters and numbers before they get to school. In Texas, one in four children is not read to regularly, one of the worst rates in the nation. At H-E-B, we want to turn that statistic around,” said Kate Rogers, H-E-B Vice President of Partner Communication and Engagement.

H-E-B’s Read 3 campaign is the brainchild of H-E-B CEO and Chairman Charles Butt, who has a strong commitment to education. H-E-B is also the creator of the Excellence in Education Awards, the state’s largest monetary awards program for schools, administrators and teachers.

Help recognize your favorite teacher or principal today by nominating them for an award at www.heb.com.