NLC Joins Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

Article excerpt

NLC has announced its commitment to be a major partner in the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading by supporting city efforts to boost reading proficiency as part of the National Civic League's 2012 All-America City Awards competition.

The campaign is a collaborative, 10-year effort by dozens of foundations and organizations across the country to increase the number of low-income children who read at grade level by the end of third grade--a key developmental milestone and indicator of future academic success.

At the opening celebration of the All-America City Awards competition on June 15 in Kansas City, Mo., the National Civic League announced that its 2012 Awards program will challenge applicant cities to develop collaborative, community-owned strategies for improving grade-level reading. Through its Institute for Youth, Education and Families (YEF Institute), NLC will partner with the National Civic League to promote the Award and help cities develop their plans.

The All-America City Awards

The National Civic League's signature All-America City Awards program is well known for recognizing outstanding civic accomplishments in the nation's cities and towns. In 2012, the awards will focus on communities that address three major obstacles to reading proficiency: a lack of school readiness among younger children, chronic absences that reduce the amount of instructional time received, and summer learning loss in which students lose ground academically in between school years.

NLC is supporting these efforts by advising the development of the All-America City Grade-Level Reading Award program, encouraging cities to participate in the competition and providing technical assistance in the development and implementation of local plans to improve grade-level reading. City officials will have the opportunity to participate in audioconferences and various peer learning opportunities as they work with school districts, United Way and other community leaders on their grade-level reading plans. United Way Worldwide and the U.S. Conference of Mayors are also serving as partners in the Grade-Level Reading Award program.

The Importance of Grade-Level Reading

A recent KIDS COUNT special report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation entitled, "Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters," highlights the academic achievement gaps that develop between disadvantaged students and their peers early in life. …