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Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

April 2015–Present

Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

The Purpose

Part of a nationwide movement, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a community-wide effort to help all children, especially those from low-income families, succeed in school by ensuring they read on grade level. The Suncoast region — Manatee and Sarasota counties in Florida — is focused on addressing the most common issues and obstacles that impact a child's ability to read to learn. A brighter future for all children is at the core of the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. An effort of more than 285 communities nationwide — including the Suncoast region in Florida — to increase early-reading proficiency, the Campaign brings better ways to deliver support and resources to children in need by mobilizing a broad base of stakeholders to improve school readiness, kindergarten through third-grade attendance, and summer-learning opportunities for children from low-income families.

Strengthening the Impact

With the assistance of The Patterson Foundation, funding and strategic resources strengthen the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading along with the state-wide Campaign for Grade-Level Reading in Florida. As an enterprise funder of the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, The Patterson Foundation strengthens the movement by connecting and providing technical assistance, support, and thought partnership at the national, state, and local levels.

FAQs Click on frequently asked questions below to learn more about this initiative...

Why does The Patterson Foundation support this local initiative?

In Manatee and Sarasota counties, dozens of nonprofits, schools, community organizations, and individuals are doing meaningful work related to the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. While there will be unique approaches to tackle the needs and challenges of each county, there is much to learn and share together. There are boundary-spanning activities and approaches that benefit both counties as each works toward helping children learn how to read to succeed in school and in life. Addressing one of the most critical issues of our time, The Patterson Foundation supports strengthening the efforts of people, organizations, and communities as they come together to increase early literacy and improve the future for all children.

What is the grade-level reading landscape in Manatee County?

Each county has unique challenges to address and there are many opportunities to pursue excellence. Based on 2016 FSA scores, 47 percent of Manatee County students can read on grade level by the end of third grade. Also, 56 percent of Manatee County students qualify for the free or reduced lunch program.

What is the grade-level reading landscape in Sarasota County?

Each county has unique challenges to address and there are many opportunities to pursue excellence. Based on 2016 FSA scores, 68 percent of Sarasota County students can read on grade level by the end of third grade. Also, 49 percent of Sarasota County students qualify for the free or reduced lunch program.

Who is working on the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading?

Dozens of nonprofits, schools, community organizations, and individuals are doing meaningful work related to the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading in both Manatee and Sarasota counties.

In addition, several lead supporters — called founding Network Weavers — have stepped up to help guide and implement the Suncoast CGLR's strategies including the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Manatee Community Foundation, Sarasota County Schools, School District of Manatee County, The Patterson Foundation, United Way of Manatee County, and University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee.

What is The Patterson Foundation’s role in the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading?

Rather than funding programs, The Patterson Foundation is focused on investing in a regional approach that supports the community-wide vision of success in both Sarasota and Manatee counties.

The Patterson Foundation's resources support the local coalitions through:

  • Planning assistance
  • Sharing national research and best practices with local coalitions
  • State and national funding
  • Expert knowledge sharing by bringing in speakers
  • Fostering community connectivity as both Manatee and Sarasota counties in Florida seek ways to learn and share together
  • Communications resources to amplify the work

Does the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading have a grant cycle?

Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading resources (including intellectual capital, support, and funding) focus on the Suncoast CGLR partnership itself, as opposed to any project/study or program. For this reason, the Suncoast CGLR does not have grant cycles or accept proposals. We are committed to sharing and accelerating evidence-based national strategies in order to bring sustainable change to our region.

How can I make a donation to the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading initiative?

Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading resources (including intellectual capital, support, and funding) focus on the Suncoast CGLR partnership itself, as opposed to any project/study or program. For this reason, the Suncoast CGLR does not solicit or accept donations.

  • The Community Foundation of Sarasota County and United Way of Manatee County stand ready to work with any donors interested in supporting either Sarasota or Manatee county efforts.
  • We encourage you to visit The Giving Partner to find an organization doing high quality work in early learning or literacy. There are dozens of organizations in both counties already doing meaningful work that will contribute positively to the solution areas identified by the national campaign. As the campaign progresses, it will continue to harness the passion and enthusiasm of individuals and organizations making a difference through evidence-based work.
  • We will feature various programs and organizations doing the work as the campaign progresses as well information on how you can donate your time or money to this important work.

How can I volunteer with the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading initiative?

As the Suncoast CGLR progresses, there will be many opportunities to get involved. To stay informed of volunteer opportunities, we encourage you to sign up for the Suncoast CGLR newsletter on this webpage (see column on right) and to visit the volunteer section of the Suncoast CGLR website to find out about events scheduled near you. Contact information for the volunteer coordinator is also provided on that webpage.

We also encourage you to visit our Facebook page and follow the campaign on Twitter to stay informed as the campaign develops.

Where can I learn more about the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading?

Please visit gradelevelreadingsuncoast.net for resources and to learn more.

Who can I contact about the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading initiative?

For more information, contact Suncoast CGLR Director Beth Duda: bduda@thepattersonfoundation.org.

Additional FAQs

Click on frequently asked questions below to learn more about the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading initiative...

Why does The Patterson Foundation support the national campaign?

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 more children from low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career, and active citizenship. By 2020, the Campaign aims to increase by at least 100 percent the number of children from low-income families reading proficiently at the end of third grade in a dozen or more states. Addressing one of the most critical issues of our time, The Patterson Foundation supports strengthening the efforts of people, organizations, and communities as they come together to increase early literacy and improve the future for all children.

Why is early-childhood literacy this important?

The statistics are troubling: 67 percent of children nationwide and more than 80 percent of those from low-income families are not proficient readers by the end of third grade.

Research shows that when children — especially those from low-income families — fail to read on grade level by the end of third grade, they are more likely to drop out of high school and face an array of long-term negative consequences.

This problem will undermine efforts to end intergenerational poverty, close the achievement gap, and reduce high school dropout rates.

How are communities across the country working on this issue?

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading was launched to reverse this potentially catastrophic trend by supporting common-sense solutions at the federal, state, and local levels. Communities employ strategies that address the following solutions:
  • School Readiness/Early Learning
  • Attendance
  • Summer Learning
These solution areas are all supported by the need for strong parental and family engagement and health strategies for young children.

How does the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading benefit communities?

Communities that support the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading understand that an educated community means a stronger future for everyone. It means communities where more people are prepared for higher education or to enter military and civilian service. It means stronger communities prepared to compete in the global economy.
Beth Duda, Director, shares an overview of the Suncoast Campaign's communitywide efforts
(total time: 6 min 06 seconds)

Social Media


Latest From Twitter

Suncoast GL Reading
Reading aloud = a love of books and awareness of letters. Important for School Readiness. @readingby3rd #glreading
Suncoast GL Reading
Showing interest in the books your child is reading can help develop a love of reading. #glreading
More than one third of all juvenile offenders read below the fourth-grade level. Early Literacy matters to our entire community. #glreading


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