I just returned from the inaugural Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (GLR) Communities Network Conference. In true TPF fashion, we attended the conference to learn and share, but were moved by this staggering statistic: 74 percent of students who fail to read proficiently at third grade falter at later grades and often drop out.
We set out to learn about this campaign, which was conceived by Ralph Smith, senior vice president at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. With compelling data to back it up, the campaign focuses on closing the gap in third-grade literacy to improve education outcomes and social consequences. Data also shows minorities and low-income children are at the highest risk.
This seems logical, but how does this impact us? How do we change these statistics?
We presented a session on “Social Media: Fueling Modern Movements in the Digital Age.” As I sat listening to my colleagues Melissa and Sam educate a room full of conference attendees about movements, explaining the theory and methodology behind creating a groundswell, citing that passion is the primary ingredient to fuel a movement, I was struck with the passion and philanthropic mindset around this campaign.
I heard the most inspirational speeches given by several mayors, including those leading the charge in Denver, Sacramento and Providence, who had made a leadership commitment to this campaign. I heard from cities, counties and districts committed to improving third-grade literacy rates in their areas. I heard a commitment to ALL children – a promise that the passion goes beyond caring for “my” child but to all children who are powerless and depend on the powerful to make the right decisions. I was nodding in agreement when most leaders put forth the need to collaborate, to bring the entire community together for the children.
I was proud to attend the conference – heartened by the fact that 600 people got together to advocate for the greater good .
I admit it.
I am caught in the movement.