The following is a press release from the NC Early Childhood Foundation and the NC Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
The national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR) is recognizing four North Carolina communities for measurable progress on key indicators of early school success. Read Charlotte in Mecklenburg County; Chatham Reads in Chatham County; Growing Moore Readers of Moore County and WAKE Up and Read in Wake County reported progress in 2017 for children from low-income families toward at least one CGLR indicator: school readiness, school attendance or summer learning.
Reading proficiency by the end of third grade is a critical milestone toward high school graduation and career success. Only 39 percent of North Carolina fourth graders and 24 percent of students from economically disadvantaged families scored at or above reading proficiency on the National Assessment of Educational Progress in 2017. Students who are not reading on grade-level by that time are more likely to drop out of high school.
Highlights about the winning North Carolina Campaign communities include:
Read Charlotte: Each year the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading honors Pacesetters to highlight communities that serve as proof points and represent the leading edge of innovation, impact and improvement within the Campaign. This year 29 communities were recognized across the country, including Read Charlotte for creating a Data Collaborative in 2017.
The Data Collaborative focuses on: the use of common literacy assessments across agencies, program impact reviews and staff professional development on using data to drive results. Through this partnership, literacy providers across the birth-through-third-grade continuum receive a comprehensive understanding of children’s language and literacy skills using a common assessment and a stronger understanding of areas for growth within the organizations, as it relates to students’ language and literacy development.
Read Charlotte partnered with several organizations that each made a three-year commitment to the Data Collaborative, including Ada Jenkins Center, Above & Beyond Students, Bethlehem Center, Charlotte Bilingual Preschool, Freedom School Partners, Lakewood Preschool, The Learning Collaborative, Thompson Child & Family Focus, YMCA and YWCA.
“The Data Collaborative is vital in achieving the goal of 80 percent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg third graders reading proficiently by 2025,” explained Read Charlotte Executive Director Munro Richardson. “Strategic use of data by nonprofit agencies and funders will help our community better understand what works to improve children’s literacy. Working alongside early literacy partners to provide this type of support is an exciting piece of our efforts here at Read Charlotte.”
Read Charlotte was also recognized for launching a Reading Success Dashboard, a community resource that makes it easy to track overall and school-by-school progress while empowering local community members to take action to improve early literacy outcomes in the schools they serve.
Chatham Reads: Chatham Reads was recognized as a Campaign Bright Spot for teaming up with the Chatham County School System to expand its Bookmobile as part of its summer learning initiative. Schools were able to upgrade book collections to include high-interest, bilingual books in Spanish. Another partner, Communities in Schools Chatham County, supported the bookmobile with their Student Support Specialist riding along to engage parents. Communities in Schools and the Chatham Literacy Council piloted a program for a dozen families to participate in a multi-generational program to link adult literacy learning with facilitated parent engagement.
Growing Moore Readers: In Moore County, Growing Moore Readers was recognized as a Campaign Bright Spot for its successful summer learning program called Reading Feeding Frenzy. Three libraries, the Rotary Club of the Sandhills and other organizations collaborated to provide summer learning opportunities and nutritious lunches. Reading Feeding Frenzy was designed to support the county’s most vulnerable neighborhoods with resources and opportunities for learning. Over 10 weeks, 84 children attended the program and 306 books were distributed.
WAKE Up and Read: WAKE Up and Read in Wake County was recognized as a Campaign Bright Spot for its Partners Read program to bring volunteers to schools to read to children. Partners Read began through collaboration between WakeEd Partnership, the Wake County Public Schools Literacy Team and the business community. Volunteers spent 40 minutes, once a week for 10 weeks reading to first and second graders before the start of the school day. Students keep the book read each week to add to their home libraries. In four years, Partners Read has placed 170 volunteers – that’s more than 2,000 volunteer hours – in 31 schools, giving nearly 4,500 books to first and second graders in Wake County.
Orange County Campaign for Grade-Level Reading: As more communities align their literacy efforts across the state, a diverse coalition of 20 organizations in Orange County has joined the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. The Orange County Campaign has developed an action plan with funders, nonprofits, faith leaders, school systems and government agencies to put children on a pathway to reading proficiency by the end of third grade. Applying racial equity as its main driver, the collaborative is focusing on children and families of color, and particularly those children and families of color who are living in poverty and are under-resourced.
Orange County is joining 13 North Carolina communities that are part of the NC Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. Led by the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation (NCECF), coalitions are active in Chatham, Durham, Johnston, Gaston, Guilford, Mecklenburg, Moore, Nash/Edgecombe, Pitt, Richmond, Rowan, Wake and Wayne counties.
“We are proud of North Carolina communities being recognized for their achievements to ensure more children are ready for school and reading on grade-level,” said Lisa Finaldi, Community Engagement Leader for NCECF. “This progress demonstrates the power of communities working together. Orange County is joining a strong group of communities in North Carolina.”
About the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation (NCECF)
NCECF is the state’s only organization focused exclusively on children from birth through age eight—the most rapid period of development in human life. It promotes public understanding, spearheads collaboration and advances policy to achieve its vision that each North Carolina child has a strong foundation for lifelong health, education and well-being supported by a premiere birth-to-age-eight system. Learn more at http://www.buildthefoundation.org
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Follow us on Twitter at @ncecf and @tracyzimmerman.
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About the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
Launched in 2010, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a collaborative effort of more than 360 communities, representing 43 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada. The Campaign works to ensure that many more children from low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career and active citizenship. To learn more, visit gradelevelreading.net and follow the movement on Twitter @readingby3rd.