Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
In the fall of 2014, Grinnell College became involved with the Grinnell Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (GLR) initiative along wtih other Grinnell stakeholders. Most recently, Grinnell College was the lead applicant and recipient of a grant from the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service to coordinate and hire a team of 14 AmeriCorps members to work in organizations throughout the community in order to advance the early literacy project in Grinnell.
What is the campaign?
The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a nationwide effort to help get all kids reading at grade level by third grade. Grade-level reading by the end of third grade is an important predictor of school success and high school graduation because this is when kids shift from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” Sadly, two-thirds of US fourth graders and four-fifths of low-income students fail to reach this critical milestone. Based on the idea that schools cannot succeed alone, the campaign provides a framework for aligning community stakeholders in support of these efforts.
Action areas are based on research into early childhood learning. The campaign focuses on five key action areas:
- Summer Learning Loss
- Chronic Absence
- School Readiness
- Healthy Readers
- Parent Engagement
Who is supporting the effort?
Lead national supporters include the Annie E. Casey Foundation at the national level, and the Iowa Council of Foundations in Iowa. Lead Co-Investors: The David & Lucile Packard Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Target, Open Society Foundations, and Wells Fargo. Other Co-Investors: Anonymous, Bezos Family Foundation, Irving Harris Foundation, CHASE, The Piton Foundation, David & Laura Merage Foundation, Tremaine Foundation, The Patterson Foundation, and Dollar General Literacy Foundation. Also sponsored by Scholastic.
Who else is participating?
Other Iowa communities include Ames, Cedar Valley, Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Dubuque, and Marshalltown.
What is the status in Grinnell?
In Grinnell, the campaign is just getting started. In August of 2014, community stakeholders heard about the campaign, and learned how other Iowa communities (such as Dubuque and Marshalltown) are getting on board. At the conclusion of that meeting, the community stakeholders unanimously agreed to support Grinnell’s participation and submit a letter of intent to join the campaign.
In the fall of 2014, we learned that Grinnell was accepted into the network, and will benefit from the help and guidance of Iowa Campaign Consultant, Becky Miles-Polka. Stakeholders met again in February of 2015 to begin preliminary planning, and again in May to continue the planning discussion.
This year, Grinnell also applied for an AmeriCorps grant to provide additional staffing support to the effort. In June of 2015, we were notified of the exciting news that Grinnell’s application was approved. This grant will provide for a network of 14 AmeriCorps members to help implement educational initiatives in Grinnell, including 12 AmeriCorps members dedicated exclusively to grade level reading.
Where can I learn more?
At the national level, the Campaign website offers a tremendous amount of information, ideas, and examples from other communities. Review the Iowa Council of Foundations (ICoF) newsletters to learn what's going on statewide:
- ICoF GLR February 2015 Newsletter
- ICoF GLR March 2015 Newsletter
- ICoF GLR April 2015 Newsletter
- ICoF GLR May 2015 Newsletter
- ICoF GLR June 2015 Newsletter
How do I get involved?
If you are interested in getting involved with Grinnell's Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, please email Community Enhancement & Engagement.