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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Big D Reads?

Big D Reads is a community service project designed to immerse Dallas in a shared reading experience, with a specific focus on ninth-grade Dallas ISD students. The program is under way now and will culminate with a citywide initiative throughout the entire month of April 2015.

Who's in Charge?

D Academy, a civic leadership training program for young entrepreneurs, media professionals, creatives, educators, members of the tech community, and others, is organizing the effort and will manage the project. D Academy is underwritten by D Magazine Partners, and D Magazine Partners will work with community partners to transform the Big D Reads model into an ongoing program for the city.

Who's Reading What?

The 2015 book choice is Charles Portis’ True Grit.

When Will It Take Place?

During the entire month of April 2015, Big D Reads will conduct dozens of special events centered on True Grit, including an opening event, a closing event, exhibits at museums, poetry slams, educational events/speakers, DISD enrichment programs, and as many other community interactions as budget allows. At the same time, more than 20,000 books will be distributed to DISD ninth graders in all 37 high schools, as well as to DART riders, visitors in hospital waiting rooms, and all branches of the Dallas Public Library.

How Will You Measure the Success of Big D Reads?

At the center of our efforts are ninth-grade DISD students. By getting a book into the hands of each student, and fostering a community-wide conversation, we aim to create an atmosphere where students become committed readers. Big D Reads is creating enrichment programs for students, parents, teachers, and support organizations. In partnership with DISD, we will conduct qualitative and quantitative assessments before and after to measure the effectiveness of the effort, with an eye toward improving results in subsequent years.

Dallas Independent School District loses, on average, 20 percent of its enrollment between the ninth and tenth grades. Research shows that this is the critical point at which students decide whether to continue and complete their education, or withdraw from school. While it may seem a modest ambition to convert a single student, we will consider the program successful if we do so, and we are taking the view that no matter how broad the reach, reading and citizenship are achieved one young man or woman at a time.

As a secondary agenda, we will use Big D Reads to harness the time, talent, and stewardship of Dallas Gen X and Y individuals to fold them into the community of volunteerism and community involvement. We acknowledge that these generations need unique arenas in which to operate, and that their approach will focus on grassroots activity, social media, networking, multi-media, creative messaging, and one-on-one opportunities to contribute to the city. We will consider Big D Reads a success if we are able to mobilize new segments of Gen X and Gen Y leadership, and introduce these individuals to local leaders, mentors, DISD, and city of Dallas influencers.

The 2014-2015 class of D Academy will mobilize volunteer talent among individuals and local companies, each working on discrete committees to create and promote the April 2015 experience.

Funding is a crucial aim at this juncture. In addition to $160,000 in in-kind donations from D Magazine, we need $120,000 to forge and operate the 2015 program, measure it, and refine it for the future.

With the expenses associated with a project of this scope, including purchasing books for DISD students, the ability to successfully execute Big D Reads relies heavily on the generosity of the citizens and corporations of Dallas.