At the age of 90, Tom Fisher is still actively involved in promoting literacy. His interest began in 1994 when he read an article in a Smithsonian Magazine about the Read Aloud Handbook. This article motivated Mr. Fisher to create a group called Read Aloud Waxahachie. The community was brought closer together as adults began working with children to develop their love for books and reading. This program allowed many people to benefit from the services as well as provide those in the community with the opportunity to serve.
"Have You Read To A Child Today?" is the theme of the Read Aloud Waxahachie program. Mr. Fisher continued to be involved in a variety of programs. The WISD Kindergarten campus has worked together with the Lions Club and Rotary Club in a reading program called Lap-Reading. High School students are able to receive school credit and community service hours through reading to the younger elementary school-aged children. Mr. Fisher's efforts have also led to several book drives through the local high school, as well as to the distribution of books to newborns at the hospital in Waxahachie.
As a volunteer reader and throughout the implementation process, Mr. Fisher continues to be involved every day. He personally researches issues and concerns relating to education and children, and is the catalyst that helps everyone else to keep the program going. This year was the first Waxahachie "Drop Everything and Read" (DEAR) Day, where over 6,700 members of the community took part by reading.
Tom Fisher believes that everyone can make a difference. Through his work, the community of Waxahachie developed a great awareness and love for reading. The Read Aloud committee, a group of business leaders, government officials, school employees, and church leaders, began working with public and private schools, daycare centers and churches throughout the community. Waxahachie is a small community with a high poverty level and the public was not aware of the value of reading aloud. Through Read Aloud Waxahachie, reading scores improved as well as vocabulary, listening and awareness skills. The Read Aloud Waxahachie program is funded through the school district and local businesses.