Dear Texas goal is simple, to encourage more people of ALL ages to read more. While this sounds like a simple goal, it is, in fact, a very difficult goal to accomplish, as reading still continues to compete against TV and electronic devices. But, that is also the challenge we love.
Showing people, the joy of reading can be accomplished in a number of ways. First, is education, followed by testimonies and then by meeting actual authors and helping readers learn how authors think and why they write. Giving readers a personal one on one connection to an author provides an incentive to read a book. Once a reader is able to find a good book, they are hooked on the possibilities that exist. Their creative mind is awakened and how they deal with life then changes.
The DEAR Texas concept started with an annual event created in 2014 and then implemented in 2015 when Texas authors were distributed around the state in bookstores, libraries, and schools over a two-day period in April to spotlight their works to readers. The overwhelming response from this event, demonstrated that it needed to be its own separate organization, thus Texas Authors, Inc., moved it out from under its organization and set it up as a separate 501.c.3 in Texas.
During the first year of operating, DEAR was able to arrange for Texas authors to get into Blackshire Elementary school, a title 1 school, to do reading programs to children. A total of 6 authors were able to read and talk with over 200 students during the year.
Over the past two years, over 115 authors have been able to reach out to the Texas community during its annual event. This outreach has been in over 36 cities across Texas and with each passing year, our goal is to increase the number of authors and cities participating.
DEAR Texas Continues to Grow
In 2015, the Super Readers were created to help inspire kids to read through adulthood so they could become their own Super Hero. The Super Readers are four characters that have been given opportunities through reading and writing to be Super Hero’s.
It is the organization's goal to create a graphic novel that can be distributed to children in schools reinforcing reading by educating them with words, and positive messages.
In 2016, DEAR created its first book festival: Wimberley Book Festival which again focused on getting more people to read by learning of the many great books that Texas Authors have created. The success of this event moved the organizers to create additional book festivals around the state to help the smaller communities that may not have access to such an event. From these events, DEAR is also able to help get books into schools and local libraries through donations.
As of the end of 2016, over $10,000 worth of books has been donated to various schools and libraries around the state.
In early January 2016, DEAR Texas was able to travel to Boston, MA to participate in the American Library Association’s Mid-Winter event. The success of this event was measured by the number of people to visited our booth (800 plus, approximately 10% of the attendees to the event), but also the Social Media impact we had with over 32,000 impressions due to our Super Readers photo kiosk program. These images and promotion of the Super Readers have reached around the globe.
In January 2017, we will once again attend this event to be held in Atlanta, GA and present the Super Readers for the world to see and learn about.
DEAR Texas has teamed up with Book Festival Network to create new experiences at their book festivals that will last well beyond the one-day events that they create. Through this partnership, the value of the book festivals will increase dramatically and impact many more lives than just those who attended the event. It is our goal to make DEAR Texas the Gold Standard in book festivals for the future.
With each passing year, our outreach continues beyond the borders of Texas in many ways, and our creative endeavors add new and exciting programs that increase our outreach and help us reach our goal of getting people of ALL ages to read more.
By accomplishing this goal, we not only help increase the educational value of Texas citizens but also increase the Texas Economy in multiple and long-lasting ways.