2014 Pacesetters Named by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

Posted on: May 11, 2015

The states of Arizona and Florida, along with Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa and Ohio have been recognized as 2014 Pacesetters by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading for their efforts to ensure low-income students are reading at grade level by the end of third grade, a critical milestone and predictor of high school graduation.

Reading proficiency by the end of third grade is critical to long-term academic success as it marks the point where students no longer “learn to read” but rather “read to learn”. “Children who have limited exposure to language acquisition opportunities often enter kindergarten at a disadvantage. It is imperative that we ensure that high-quality early learning opportunities are available to every student. Our work with the grade level reading communities in Arizona and Florida does exactly that” explained Dr. Karen Ortiz, Vice President and Program Director for Early Grade Success with Helios Education Foundation.   Research validates that educational accomplishments are predicated upon a students’ ability to read, interpret and comprehend academic material, thus making literacy essential within high-expectation educational environments.  

The state of Arizona was named a Pacesetter in part for its 10-year strategic literacy action plan developed by Read On Arizona, a statewide collaborative, which combines public and private resources to impact more than 250,000 low-income children in 22 communities throughout the state. The Read On Arizona model empowers educators and parents to understand and support the academic milestones of children from birth to age eight.

“Parents are their child’s first educator. We want to help them prepare their child for educational success by instilling a love of reading at a very early age while building those foundational language and literacy skills that are critically important in being ready for school” said Terri Clark, Arizona Literacy Director with Read On Arizona.

With support from the Helios Education Foundation, the Florida Children’s Council has created a movement that supports community efforts and engages subject matter experts, as well as business and philanthropic leaders on strategies that support grade-level reading proficiency--Florida’s Campaign for Grade Level Reading. The Campaign launch, which positioned Florida as a 2014 Pacesetter, includes the commitment of fourteen communities that are working to promote school readiness and quality instruction, tackle chronic absence, improve summer learning and engage parents as their children’s first teacher. “The Florida Grade Level Reading Campaign creates shared momentum mobilized around quality early childhood experiences that will result in improved outcomes for young children.  By maximizing the collective impact of community and state efforts of organizations working on early childhood and afterschool issues, we can make significant progress on grade-level reading outcomes for children” said Dr. Brittany Birken, CEO of the Florida Children’s Council.

Although schools must be accountable for supporting the educational achievements of students, the Grade Level Reading Campaign is based on the belief that schools cannot succeed alone. Engaged communities mobilized to remove barriers, expand opportunities, and assist parents in fulfilling their roles and responsibilities to serve as full partners in the success of their children are needed to ensure student success.

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a collaborative effort of funders, nonprofit partners, business leaders, government agencies, states and communities across the nation.

Category: Early Grade Success

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