Hundreds of Underserved HISD Students to Receive Free Music Lessons

HOUSTON (July 1, 2016) - The Houston Symphony is teaming up with the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation and the Houston Area Urban League to offer free music lessons to hundreds of underserved K-2 Houston Independent School District students in the Kashmere, Wheatley, Scarborough and Booker T. Washington High School feeder patterns as part of the 2016 Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation Summer Reading Challenge Camps.

Held during July, the goal of the three-day summer camps is to engage students and their parents in the learning process over the summer months when most students lose literacy skills they acquired during the previous school year.

The music classes offered through the Summer Reading Challenge Camps will be taught by Houston Symphony Community-Embedded Musicians Jenna Barghouti, David Connor, Anthony Parce and Hellen Weberpal to help deepen students' connection to music by supporting and developing language proficiency and temporal reasoning through musical learning.

"Each morning, the CEMs will tap into the first three components of literacy: listening, speaking and critical thinking. The students will be guided through a series of exercises to explore how music is made of sounds; how to tell a story through music; how music can be composed creatively; and how to actively listen to music, paying attention to the melody, rhythm, harmony and visual cues of a classical music performance," said Education and Community Programming Assistant, Melissa Fuller. "These active listening exercises are critical to the cognitive development of children in grades K-2. Involvement in music during this developmental stage has been proven to lead to language proficiency."

Once the CEMs complete the music classes, trained volunteers will build upon the lessons to incorporate the remaining two components of literacy: reading and writing. The literacy curriculum will be facilitated by John Robinson, Houston Area Urban League education director and Scholastic Inc. national facilitator, as well as trained volunteers from HISD, Phillips 66 and other area partners. Students will be given books to begin their home library and will be provided access to books that will allow students to practice the TEKS standards.

Free transportation will be offered to students by HISD from their respective schools to the host elementary school where the camps will be held.

The 2016 Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation Summer Reading Challenge Camps will be held on the following dates and locations:

Tuesday, July 5 - Friday, July 8

Kashmere Gardens Elementary School (Kashmere High School feeder pattern)

4901 Lockwood Dr., Houston, TX 77026

Monday, July 11 - Thursday, July 14

Atherton Elementary School (Wheatley High School feeder pattern)

2011 Solo St., Houston, TX 77020

Monday, July 18 - Thursday, July 21

Benbrook Elementary School (Scarborough High School feeder pattern)

4026 Bolin Road, Houston, TX 77092

Monday, July 25 - Thursday, July 28

Highland Heights Elementary School (Booker T. Washington High School feeder pattern)

865 Paul Quinn St., Houston, TX 77091

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