CAMPAIGN FOR GRADE-LEVEL READING
United Way of Wyoming Valley has taken a big step toward improving student success in our area by joining the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (GLR), a nationwide movement to increase early reading proficiency.
Reading proficiency by the end of third grade is a critical milestone toward high school graduation and success later life because it marks the transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” National tests show that two-thirds of U.S. fourth graders (four-fifths of whom are from low-income families) are not reading proficiently. Students who have not mastered reading by that time are more likely to drop out of high school and struggle throughout their lives.
Currently in Luzerne County, only 2 of 11 public school districts have 75% or more of their 3rd grade students reading at grade level or better, 7 districts are between 50 and 75%, and 3 districts have less than half of their students meeting this third-grade benchmark.
Making an Impact In Our Community
The United Way's plan focuses on addressing the three underlying challenges that can keep young children, especiall those in low-income families, from learning to read proficiently:
Too many child are entering kindergarten already behind
Too many young children are missing too many days of school
Too many children are losing ground academically over the summer
Membership in the GLR Community
“We are thrilled to welcome Wilkes-Barre and the Wyoming Valley area to our growing network of communities,” said Ralph Smith, managing director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. “United Way of Wyoming Valley’s commitment to this vital mission comes at a critical time when nearly half of the children in the U.S. under the age of five (the years of greatest brain development) live in extreme poverty. Together, we will do what it takes to ensure our nation’s most vulnerable children have the support and opportunities they need to thrive.”
Membership in the GLR Communities Network gives United Way of Wyoming Valley and the Wyoming Valley area access to experts and policymakers focused on early literacy, assistance in addressing the challenges that keep many children from learning to read, and opportunities to share and learn best practices from communities across the country.
About the Campaign for GLR
Launched in May 2010, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a collaborative effort of funders, nonprofit partners, business leaders, government agencies, states and communities across the nation to ensure that many more children from low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career and active citizenship. Since its launch, the campaign as grown to include more than 285 communities, representing 42 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands with 2,100 local organizations (including 130 United Ways and 250 state and local funders.) To learn more, visit gradelevelreading.net and follow the movement on Twitter @readingby3rd.
REAL MEN READ MENtor reading to kindergarten students.
Community Solutions Action Plan (CSAP)Goal One (school readiness)
Increase the number of Wyoming Valley children enrolled in high quality child care/early learning programs and home visitation programs
Goal Two (school readiness)
Increase the number of books available to Wyoming Valley children and their families
Goal Three (school readiness)
Create and/or increase access to oral health and developmental screenings for young children
Goal Four (school readiness)
Increase communication between early care providers and school districts
Goal Five (summer learning)
Increase theavailability of high-quality summer learning opportunities designed to avoid the summer slide for at-rish Wyoming Valley children
Goal Six (attendance)
Create an attendance awareness campaign to promote the importance of good attendance to reduce student absences
Programs Supporting Our Goals
Dolly Parton Imagination Library
Dolly Parton Imagination Library program ovides mentoring services to at-risk youth ages 7 to 17. Youth are matched with screened and trained volunteer “bigs” who agree to spend up to approximately 3 hours per week with their assigned “little.” Funding will support directservice staff to recruit, screen, and train volunteer “bigs,” and assess children and families participating in the program.
To learn more about the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program please contact Miriam Bakewell at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our webpage.
REAL MEN READ
REAL MEN READ is a volunteer reading program that brings in MENtors from the Wyoming Valley community to read to kindergarten students for one hour each month to help foster early literacy.
The purpose of the REAL MEN READ program is to
- encourage and improve literacy skills of our students
- show students that real men value education
- provide MENtoring opportunities for students
- demonstrate the importance of community partnerships
The benefits to the REAL MEN READ program are
- students receive extra attention and positive role models who value education
- boys and girls see MENtors modeling the importance of reading
- each student receives his/her own book to build their own home library so learning can go beyond the classroom
Resources and Links