The organization joined Houston Texans safety Glover Quin for the "Readers Do Something About It" reading rally at Reliant Center on Saturday.
The free event attracted hundreds of people. Quin read from his favorite children's book and talked to youngsters about the importance of reading, studying and graduating from high school.
Kids also got into small groups and read to each other and made their own bookmarks, and there was also a book drive that collected a few thousand hardbacks and paperbacks.
Houston Texans Cheerleaders, president Jamey Roots and mascot TORO made special appearances, as well as performers with Express CHildren's Theatre.
According to the United Way of Greater Houston, less than 50 percent of Houston's third graders have the reading skills necessary for success in fourth grade and one in four Houston-area children will not graduate from high school.
Quin, who has a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of New Mexico, is part of the national partnership between Team NFL and the United Way to recruit volunteer readers, tutors and mentors to improve academic success.