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October 2, 2012

Celebrity Spelling Bee to Benefit Reading Partners and DISD

Presented By Chase

Mayor Mike Rawlings will Compete with Local Celebrities


DALLAS (October 2, 2012) – Reading Partners, a national nonprofit dedicated to transforming struggling young readers into confident readers, is hosting its inaugural Celebrity Spelling Bee at the recently opened Dallas City Performance Hall on October 10th. Reading Partners launched its tutoring programs in the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) in January, and is expanding to operate early intervention programs in 10 elementary schools across the city this school year.

With the generous support of a title sponsorship from CHASE Bank and the participation of Mayor Mike Rawlings the Celebrity Spelling Bee will be a “laugh-out-loud” community affair to celebrate the start of the new school year. Celebrities of all kinds have signed on to help raise awareness for the importance of literacy education and support Reading Partners expansion throughout DISD. Celebrity teams will consist of one celebrity and one corporate sponsor who will compete to be named the first annual Reading Partners Spelling Bee Champion. To keep it lively, teams may earn chances to “pass” on a spelling round based on the amount of money they are able to raise during the week leading up to the Bee. The more money teams raise, the more passes they will receive.

“The excitement around this event is evidence of the strong community support for our public schools,” said Kaitlin Guthrow, Regional Executive Director for Reading Partners Dallas. “There is a newfound energy for collaboration to ensure all of our kids receive a high quality education and we are delighted to host such a fun event to build support for Reading Partners programs.”

Rawlins Gilliland, KERA commentator will emcee the event, which kicks off with a cocktail hour at 6:00 pm, and the Spelling Bee will begin at 7:00.

“Dallas is very fortunate to have Reading Partners involved in our school district. Their model of one-on-one instruction at each student’s reading level virtually guarantees improvement,” said DISD Superintendent Mike Miles. “The work they are doing with these kids is truly lifechanging for them, and I’m looking forward to squaring off with the other celebrity teams in the Spelling Bee.”

In Dallas, 89 percent of fourth graders who qualify for the national school lunch program are reading below grade level. Students who are not reading on grade level by the end of third grade are six times more likely to drop out of high school. Every student who does not complete high school costs our society an estimated $260,000 in lost earnings, taxes and productivity.

Superintendent Mike Miles and the new leadership of the Dallas Independent School District have demonstrated a commitment to helping support the needs of all of our students. Reading Partners is excited to be a bold partner in that effort and will continue to work to expand services across the district in the coming years.

In addition to the money raied via the Spelling Bee, the Jiv Daya Foundation will donate 25 Kindle Paperwhite devices and $750 to purchase books for students. The Foundation’s local education program, Kindles in Classrooms, has placed more than 900 eReaders into Dallas classrooms since January.

“Our program aims to bridge a technology gap for deserving schools in the Metroplex, giving teachers and students access to a breadth of online resources and eBook titles. One school chosen by the winning team of Reading Partners’ Spelling Bee will receive support from Kindles in Classrooms, and we are excited to collaborate with dedicated organizations like Reading Partners to improve schools in Dallas and surrounding areas,” said Sarah Browning, grants coordinator, Jiv Daya Foundation.

This year’s Celebrity Spelling Bee is presented by CHASE. Additional sponsors include Commit!, The Container Store, Dallas Regional Chamber, Ernst & Young, Gordon & Rees, LLP and Jiv Daya Foundation.

To purchase tickets to the Spelling Bee on October 10th visit:

About Reading Partners
Reading Partners is a national nonprofit working to close the reading achievement gap for
elementary school students. In the 2012-13 school year, the organization will work with 35
school districts across California, Colorado, Maryland, New York, Texas, and the District of Columbia.

First introduced in California in 1999, Reading Partners provides twice-a-week one-on- one volunteer tutoring to students at Title I schools who have fallen behind in reading. According to pre- and post-program assessments, the organization has an 89% success rate in improving academic achievement for children who have fallen behind in reading skills. The organization is headquartered in Oakland, Calif. For more information, visit or visit the organization’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Media Contact: Allison M. Allison / (214) 354-4688 /

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