Rolandra West


Texas Wesleyan and Fort Worth partners have combined efforts to re-establish Fort Worth’s community reading called The Big Read –Fort Worth Reads Together.


The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is an initiative that provides a grant to universities and other organizations, to re-establish reading in American culture. Texas Wesleyan has been awarded an $11,700 grant to participate in the event.


Texas Wesleyan staff and faculty will work along with other partners such as: Fort Worth Independent School District, Tarrant Area Food Bank, Friends of the Fort Worth Library, Texas Christian University, Tarrant County College, The Reading Connection, Dallas Model A Club, Barnes & Noble and many more.


Dr. Twyla Miranda, professor of education, said the intention of The Big Read is to provide opportunities for communities to read and enjoy books together.


“Canned food will be collected at all events in February, March, April and May so that as people talk about the book, The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck,” Miranda said. “We will remember what hard times are like.”


The Grapes of Wrath

is about the depression of the 1930s and how people had a difficult time finding enough work to feed their families.

“The story is relevant today, because we have seen such an increase in non-employment,” Miranda said.


Annette Lance, Big Read student worker and senior advertising public relations major, said she is working on soliciting funding for the Big Read.


“Part of my job as a student worker on the grant is to contact private schools to see if we can also get them to participate in the Big Read,” Lance said. “Another area we are looking into is the senior living, active senior citizens that were alive during the great depression have been invited to all of the events.”


Deborah Roark, director of grants and research at Texas Wesleyan, said she is honored that Wesleyan has received the grant from the National Endowment of the Arts for the Big Read-Fort Worth Reads Together.


“This funding supports the collaborative efforts of so many across Fort Worth and is focused on literacy … it’s just another example of how Fort Worth supports community efforts of its citizenry and why this is a great city,” Roark said.


Wesleyan will host several Big Read events.


Book discussions by various guest speakers on The Grapes of Wrath are slated for March 6-April 15 from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. An art show and contest will also be held April 12 and 28.


Sandra Myers, grant and communications coordinator at Texas Wesleyan, said Texas Poet Laureate Karla Morton will speak at the Annual Faye Goosetree symposium in conjuction with the Big Read at noon on March 27.


Myers said first will be a film screening of The Grapes of Wrath at The Tandy Lecture Hall inside the Central Library on March 11 at 2 p.m. and will be later be followed by a performance of The Grapes of Wrath, A Living Scrapbook play adaption by Rose Marine theatre cast 7:30 p.m. March 28,29 and the 30.


“I think one of the most interesting aspects of this collaboration is the number and variety of partners and thus the variety of activities,” Myers said.


She said more events will be added to the list in progress. One in particular is the Educator’s Evening “Women in History” at The National Cowgirl Musem of Hall of Fame at 5:30 p.m., that will reflect on women in history, specifically the cow girls and how they were affected during the great depression.


The Big Read events will end with an appreciation lucheon for all of the community partners. The event will be styled in the depression era, reflecting the theme of The Grapes of Wrath.


For more information on The Big Read upcoming events visit