We’re very happy that more than 120 communities have made a lasting commitment to improve early literacy. A collaborative effort from funders across the nation, The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading shares our primary goal and reason for being: to ensure that all students are able to read by the end of third grade, the critical point at which students shift from learning to read to reading to learn.
The 120 communities who submitted action plans to the Campaign are big and small—the list includes cities like Los Angeles, Boston, and Seattle, as well as smaller communities like New Britain, Conn. Their plans are wide-ranging and incorporate a variety of strategies, from developing literacy programs and family supports to improving school attendance rates and implementing summer learning programs. The Campaign will provide technical support and allow the communities to share what works with each other as they seek to refine their early literacy efforts.
The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading also recently cited CLI as one of its “bright spots,” crediting our focus on quality teaching through ongoing coaching and support. “To change teaching habits, you need somebody there by your side over several years to build on your specific strengths and improve your skills and classroom setting,” Kelly Hunter, our executive director, told the Campaign.
Ensuring that all children learn to read by third grade is a fundamental question of fairness. But it’s also a key to the nation’s future economic prosperity. As Beth Kelly, a human resources professional in Michigan with what she called “a front-row seat to the widening skills gap,” recently told CBS Marketwatch:
“Most employers are ready to hire, but they can’t find the talent they need… As an employer, I need to know that the high school graduate I hire is capable of applied math, reading, writing, and problem solving. Our economic survival hinges on fixing our very broken public education system. I believe we’re on the cusp of another economic expansion and that the biggest constraint we have right now is human capital.”
We’re proud to be a part of the solution, and hopeful that through their shared efforts, these 120 communities will make real strides in ensuring that all children learn to read.