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Target Early Childhood Read Grant Advances HCDE Head Start Mentor Reading Program

Target is providing $2,000 in grant funds for a pilot mentor ship reading program for pre-k students enrolled at Harris County Department of Education’s Head Start Compton Center in northeast Houston.

The 130 beneficiaries, ages 3-5, are encouraged to read through a mentor ship program called Read, Excel, Achieve and Lead (REAL) Supermentors Read. The program aims to build literacy skills and encourages mentors to volunteer as readers in classrooms from October 2012 through April 2013.

Target grant funds are used to buy books.

Students at Compton, one of 16 HCDE Head Start centers, receive “reading circle” visits from community male mentors who read a story, lead a discussion about the book’s storyline and bring the book to life by sharing life experiences with the children. Each student receives a copy of the book to take home and share with family.

“Our 3- to 4-year-olds who participate in REAL are constantly reminded about the value of reading,” said HCDE Head Start Director Venetia Peacock. “The goal of REAL Super-mentors Read is to inspire a love for reading at an early age and increase student reading proficiency and comprehension.”

REAL Super-mentors Read is part of the HCDE Head Start Significant male Initiative formed in 2002 to encourage male involvement throughout HCDE Head Start centers. The program reinforces four principles: reading is fun; joint reading positively impacts a child learning to read; community involvement matters; and commitment to education ensures success.

“We thank Target for its monetary support which will be used to purchase books,” Peacock said. “Moreover, we are grateful for Target’s community support and valuing the establishment of positive reading habits at an early age.”

HCDE Head Start serves 1,250 children ages 3-5 in northeast Harris County at 16 Head Start centers. Children of income-eligible families and children with special needs are served.

The program develops services to ensure future success both academically and socially. Head Start develops partnerships with social service agencies, local businesses, universities and other community entities to offer combined services. Federal funds are coupled with community resources to provide Head Start services.

For more information about partnering with Head Start within the community or for enrollment information, call (713) 672-9343 or e-mail

Photo cutline: Super-mentor Dr. Richard Bailey, vice president of learning at San Jacinto College North, reads to children at Harris County Department of Education Head Start.

About HCDE: Harris County Department of Education provides education services to the general public and 26 school districts throughout Harris County and beyond. Services include adult education, programs to promote safe schools, after-school programs, therapy services, professional development for educators, special schools, alternative certification for principals and teachers, Early Childhood Intervention and Head Start programs. We offer purchasing procurement, grant development, program research and evaluation, records management, and school finance support. Since 1889, our services continue to evolve to meet the needs of our education public. Visit us at

About Target: Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) serves guests at more than 1,763 stores across the United States and at The company plans to open its first stores in Canada in 2013. In addition, the company operates a credit card segment that offers branded proprietary credit card products. Since 1946, Target has given 5 percent of its income through community grants and programs. Today that giving equals more than $3 million a week. For information about Target’s commitment to corporate responsibility, visit


Carol E. Vaughn,
Communications/Media Relations Manager
Harris County Department of Education
6300 Irvington Blvd., Houston TX 77022
713-696-0756 office, 281-660-9205 cell

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