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The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading


third-grade-reading-data-graphicResearch shows that reading proficiency at the end of third grade is the most important predictor of school success and high school graduation. This is because reading proficiency enables students to shift from learning to read to reading to learn as they encounter more complex curriculum in fourth grade and beyond. Students who are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely not to graduate from high school than proficient readers. Yet in Oregon 28 percent of third graders fail to meet this benchmark. Among low-income students, 37 percent miss this critical milestone.

The Campaign for Grade Level Reading is a national collaborative effort driven by this research. Foundations, nonprofits, business leaders, government agencies and communities across the nation are participating to ensure more children in low-income families are reading proficiently by the end of third grade, greatly increasing their chances of success in school and life.

The Campaign is based on the belief that community partnerships are key to tackling the problem. It provides technical assistance to engaged communities of diverse partners that are taking up third-grade reading as an outcome. These communities are mobilizing to remove barriers, expand opportunities, and assist parents to serve as partners in their children’s success.

Campaign for Grade Level Reading communities are improving third-grade reading outcomes by working in three focus areas:

  • School readiness: ensuring more children arrive at kindergarten prepared to learn
  • School attendance: ensuring children in preschool and K-3 miss fewer days of school
  • Summer learning: ensuring children do not lose ground during the summer months

Along the way, communities are engaging parents and families because research shows students are most successful when their parents and involved and engaged in their learning. Parents are a child’s first teachers, and this role begins at birth. Healthy physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development in the earliest years greatly impacts children’s ability to learn and become proficient readers.

Grade Level Reading Policy News and Blogs

  • Oregon's Early Learning Opportunity

    Oregon's Early Learning Opportunity, featured at our 2017 Make It Your Business luncheon, is packed with data and underscores the impact of early environments on early abilities, the importance of third grade literacy, and the opportunity Oregon has by investing in proven approaches such as home visiting, Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education, and preschool, to change education outcomes statewide.

    Read more

  • What is grade-level reading and why is it important?

    DSC 3853 1 Copy web“Grade-level reading” is a phrase that’s used often in the education world. But many parents may not know what it means – and why it’s so important.

    The basics

    Reading proficiency by the end of third grade is the most critical indicator of whether a child will graduate high school, according to The Campaign for Grade Level Reading. Children’s Institute works with the Campaign for Grade Level Reading to address challenges to early literacy so all children can be on track by third grade.

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  • Three Oregon communities named 2016 GLR Pacesetters

    The Campaign for Grade Level Reading announced its 5th Annual Pacesetters Honors today and recognized three communities in Oregon among 48 across the nation for working to improve school readiness, school attendance, and summer learning. 

    Lane County

    The GLR Campaign recognized Lane County as a 2016 Pacesetter for making population-level measurable progress for low-income children in school readiness and summer learning. United Way of Lane County serves as the backbone support organization for the Lane Early Learning Alliance, which is focused on working together with cross sector partners to create systems of services and supports that are aligned, coordinated, and family-centered to ensure children are prepared to succeed in school and life.

    Through Lane County’s collaborative efforts with partners, developmental screening rates for children have increased from 28.3% in 2013 to 67% in 2015, indicating a significant improvement in school readiness for low-income children. Lane County has also implemented and scaled a successful Kids in Transition to School (KITS) program to improve summer learning and strengthen parent success. The KITS program has scaled significantly, from serving 40 children at two sites in 2011 to serving 368 children at 24 school sites in 2016. Program outcomes include a 28% drop in the number children at risk for reading failure, as well as indicators of parental confidence at supporting their children’s learning and positive behaviors. The Campaign would especially like to recognize Lane County for their exemplary work to achieve success, scale, and sustainability of GLR efforts and outcomes.


    The GLR Campaign also recognized Wallowa as a 2016 Pacesetter for making population-level measurable progress for low-income children in school readiness. Wallowa is a frontier community with extreme geographic isolation, high levels of poverty, and extremely limited resources. Despite these challenges, an innovative partnership between Winding Waters Clinic and Building Healthy Families has been supporting parent success, school readiness, and holistic health through efforts such as parent education, developmental screenings, Reach Out and Read, and awareness campaigns.

    Through these efforts, Wallowa County has seen astounding improvements in school readiness through rates of developmental screenings, with 0% of children birth to age 5 receiving a developmental screening during well-child visits in 2012 to 100% of children birth to age 5 receiving a developmental screening in well-child visits in 2016. Winding Waters Clinic serves 90% of Wallowa County’s low-income population and is making an incredible difference in promoting healthy child development and school readiness in the community.

    Earl Boyles

    Earl Boyles Elementary in Southeast Portland was recognized as a 2016 Pacesetter for integrating efforts to support parent success and address the health determinants of early school success. Earl Boyles is in the David Douglas School District, one of the state’s highest-need districts. It is a culturally and linguistically diverse community, with more than 20 languages spoken at the school and approximately 70 district-wide.

    Since 2012, Earl Boyles has scaled from 1 to 3 preschool classrooms for 3- and 4-year-olds with all catchment 4-year-olds being served and made significant advances in strengthening early learning. The school has:

    • Implemented a multi-pronged summer literacy strategy with community partners
    • Passed a general obligation bond that allocated funding for an early learning wing built with a majority of public funding
    • Established a parent leadership and volunteer group
    • Conducted a Community Health Assessment using a community-based participatory model to understand the child and family health factors impacting school readiness
    • Supported a new governance system to ensure the sustainability of partnerships and efforts

    The community uses a data-driven approach and has seen positive outcomes in the areas of school readiness and chronic absence.

    Read the press release from The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading


    Read more

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