Martin County Library System Press Releases

August 19, 2015

Martin County joins nationwide effort to boost early reading prowess

Filed under: News — mclswebblog @ 2:20 pm

For immediate release: August 19, 2015
Contact: Jennifer Salas, Martin County Library System, 772-221-1410

STUART, FL – Martin County is one of 11 communities joining the nationwide Campaign for Grade-Level Reading this month, committing collaborative work for increasing the number of children reading at grade level by the end of third grade.
The Grade-Level Reading Communities Network (GLR Network) now includes organizations operating in 232 cities, counties and states. All told, cities and counties in 42 states across the country – plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands — now have recognized this problem and are determined to do something about it.
National tests show that two-thirds of U.S. fourth graders, and four-fifths of those from low-income families, are not reading proficiently. Reading proficiency by the end of third grade is a milestone on a child’s path to high school graduation and later success as it marks the transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” Students who have not mastered reading by that time are more likely to drop out of school and struggle throughout their lives.
The partner organizations participating in Martin County’s campaign include the Shared Services Network, the Martin County School District, the Martin County Library System, United Way of Martin County, Children’s Services Council of Martin County, Martin County Community Foundation, Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties and many other funding, literacy and arts organizations within our community.
In joining the GLR Network, the partner organizations developed a formal plan to address three underlying challenges that can keep young children, especially those from low-income families, from learning to read well:
• School readiness — too many children are entering kindergarten already behind.
• School attendance — too many young children are missing too many days of school, especially in our early learning centers.
• Summer learning — too many children are losing ground academically over the summer.
Although Martin County can boast a higher than state average percentage of third grade students reading at third grade level, the reality is that 42% of our children are not performing at that level.
“We’re joining the Campaign because we know we have a problem here that can be addressed if we all work together,” said Dave Heaton, Executive Committee member of the Shared Services Network, which is leading the effort in Martin County. “All of us here have come to understand the critical importance of ensuring that our children gain the reading foundation they need before 4th grade.”
“Our public schools can’t do this on their own,” added Ralph Smith, managing director of the national GLR Campaign and senior vice president of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. “If we’re going to increase our graduation rates and close achievement gaps, we need mobilized communities working with schools, city agencies, nonprofits, civic leaders and parents to focus on third grade reading. It’s great to have Martin County on board.”
The GLR Communities Network is dedicated to narrowing the gap between children from low-income families and their more affluent peers. According to the U.S. Department of Education, that gap has widened significantly in recent years, with 80 percent of low-income kids failing to read proficiently in 4th grade compared to 49 percent of those from more affluent households.
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 working to ensure that many more children succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career and active citizenship.

For media inquiries, contact Jennifer Salas at jsalas@martin.fl.us or 772-221-1410.

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