As part of its continuing support for childhood literacy efforts nationwide, The Patterson Foundation has provided a $250,000 gift to the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. The gift will support continued work to foster connections among the Campaign’s network of more than 200 communities and provide thought leadership on outreach and communications strategies. National data shows that two-thirds of fourth graders are not proficient readers – a shortfall even more pronounced in low-income students, with four out of every five lacking proficiency. Reading on grade-level by the end of the third grade is a key predictor of high school graduation – according to research, this marks the point where reading becomes vital to learning and succeeding within an increasingly complex curriculum. The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a national effort to address this by helping children read on grade level by the end of the third grade. Campaign communities mobilize a broad base of stakeholders to improve school readiness, kindergarten through third-grade attendance and summer learning opportunities for children from low-income families. The Campaign also emphasizes strategies to help parents serve as their children’s first teachers and primary brain developers while connecting families to a range of health resources. The Patterson Foundation has dedicated more than $500,000 to date to these efforts, helping the Campaign’s communities stay connected to each other through online platforms that allow real-time learning and sharing of best practices. “The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is an ever-deepening movement engaging business, government, nonprofits, media and citizens to ensure that children are not only ready for kindergarten, but also to accelerate achievement with time on task throughout the year,” said Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation. “This gift furthers our commitment to build connective tissue among communities across our nation so every child will achieve their full potential in school and life.” In addition to providing thought leadership and strategic communications support to the Campaign since partnering with the effort in 2013, The Patterson Foundation was instrumental to the development of the Campaign’s online community, The Huddle, which launched in 2014 and has grown to include more than 1,300 members. This interactive platform provides opportunities for leaders from across the country to share lessons learned and innovative approaches that are moving the needle on grade-level reading in their communities. Members throughout the country share content, such as interviews with Campaign community leaders on early childhood literacy solutions they’ve implemented locally. Interactive content like this fosters conversations between the featured leader and commenters interested in applying these solutions in their own communities, building deep connections between Campaign communities nationwide. Campaign communities in Florida and other states have also joined together to form statewide groups on The Huddle, opening new channels to share findings and progress with neighboring coalitions. All Campaign communities have access to The Huddle’s resources upon joining the movement. Beyond this gift, The Patterson Foundation is engaged in ongoing Campaign efforts in its home state of Florida – including work with the Florida Grade Level Reading Campaign, which guides the work of 16 communities statewide committed to the Campaign’s goals, and the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, which encompasses Manatee and Sarasota counties. Through a coalition comprising The Patterson Foundation, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the Manatee Community Foundation, United Way of Manatee County, the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, and the Manatee and Sarasota school districts,, the Suncoast Campaign is working to provide childhood literacy programs and resources in a region where 40 percent of children are reading below grade level by the end of the third grade. Join the grade-level reading conversation using #GLReading and follow the National and Suncoast Campaigns on social media: National Campaign: Facebook, Twitter
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