Castro's Kids to host three book fairs for HISD schools this week

Jason and Maris Castro's charitable organization to distribute approximately $100,000 worth of books to HISD students

This upcoming Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the Castro's Kids program will hold book fairs at three different HISD schools to promote summer reading. In their third year partnering with HISD elementary schools, Castro's Kids will be distributing approximately $100,000 worth of new books at Sinclair Elementary on Monday, Cornelius Elementary on Tuesday and McGowen Elementary on Wednesday.

Jason and Maris Castro will be on hand at Sinclair Elementary, located at 6410 Grovewood Lane, 7008, on Monday from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. The pair is also scheduled to appear at Cornelius Elementary, located at 7475 Westover St., 77087, on Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

According to Maris Castro, wife of Astros catcher Jason Castro and co-founder of Castro's Kids, "HISD has made a concerted effort to keep their students reading over the summer months. Every summer, students are at risk for the 'summer slide,' which is the term used to describe the regression in reading skills experienced by kids that go three months without reading during the summer. Studies estimate that this inactivity during the summer causes students to lose approximately two months' worth of achievement (~20% of the school year). Even more alarming is that this regression affects low-income, at-risk children more than their peers, and the summer reading loss is cumulative- leading to large disparities between high-income and low-income children by the end of fifth grade. To help combat the summer slide, HISD students are encouraged to read at least five books over the summer break.

"We think this is a great challenge. Each year, Jason records a phone message encouraging Houston area students to participate. But beyond the encouragement, we recognize that for many children, the problem is simply that they do not have access to five books to read during the summer. Most school libraries close during the summer months and, statistically speaking, most low-income households do not have age-appropriate books available. This will be our third year partnering with HISD elementary schools to put books into these kids' hands. This year, we will be holding book fairs at Sinclair Elementary, Cornelius Elementary, and McGowen Elementary, where each and every student will be able to select five new books to allow them to complete the summer reading challenge. In total, we will be distributing approximately $100,000 worth of new books at these three schools."

Since its inception in 2013, the Castro's Kids program has donated approximately 30,000 new books, valued at $225,000, to children throughout Houston. Castro's Kids has also donated $10,000 in unrestricted grants to Houston public school libraries.

Jason and Maris Castro attribute not only their meeting one another, but many of the opportunities they have been afforded throughout their lives, to their education. Now that Houston is their full-time residence, the Castros want to help out and give back to the community in which they live, work, and call home. This has led to the Castros' desire to actively encourage and promote reading in Houston area schools. The Castros have created Castro's Kids and have partnered with the Houston Independent School District (HISD) to help further its literacy initiatives. Castro's Kids hopes to alleviate the issue of limited access to age-appropriate books in Houston by providing students with books for use at home and funds to school libraries.