DENISON, Tex. (KXII) - Lamar Elementary, a Denison elementary school, got 53-thousand dollars from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. The school principal said it's is something they weren't expecting.
"(Reading) Is the foundation for the future and for the kids," said Lamar Elementary School Principal Janet Mobley. "One thing is to learn to read and then transition for reading to learn and if they don't have that foundation then learning down the road and for life is a challenge."
Mobley said learning to read leads to a better education and according to last year's report from the Texas Education Agency, only 48 percent of Texas elementary students read at grade level. At Lamar it was 47 percent.
"It opens the door for their future and their success counts on it so our kids deserve that foundation, a good solid foundation," Mobley said.
In an effort to promote better reading, the Dollar General set up a Literacy Foundation 25 years ago, donating money to literacy organizations and schools. One of those schools they decided to donate to was Lamar Elementary.
"I thought this was going to be a sweet little gift for something but when I opened that check and saw $50,000, there were no words," Mobley said.
This Denison elementary school was selected by a local Dollar General store manager who has also collected an additional three thousand dollars towards the literacy grant.
"Made it all worthwhile," said the Denison store manager Rocky Moon. "I mean, it brings tears to your eyes to help somebody like that."
The store manager said he's seen first hand how this grant program has helped someone and wanted to see a school in his neighborhood benefit from the grant.
"I have a relative that I found out couldn't learn to read and he's learned to read through this program," Moon said.
"We've never had a budget like that for literacy," Mobley said. "So I'm anxious to get with a team of teachers and spend the money to help our kids, literature, tools to promote our literacy. Just real excited."
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $146 million in grants to literacy programs and we're told that funding has reached more than nine million students.