3rd Grade Reading Success Matters

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

Avondale, Arizona Finalist Summary

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Avondale, Arizona

The GLR Campaign and National Civic League recognize Avondale, Arizona, as a 2017 finalist for the All-America City Awards. Avondale is cited for reporting measurable progress in summer learning and overall grade-level reading for children from low-income families, as well as for exemplary efforts in promoting civic engagement and inclusiveness. In 2014, Valley of the Sun United Way, the City of Avondale and the Avondale Elementary School District formed Read On Avondale (ROA) as a cross-sector collaborative, targeting third-grade reading proficiency. The coalition has continued to build and diversify its membership to include a school board member, local health providers, parents and a state legislator. ROA has placed a high priority on reaching children and families in public housing and other children who are especially vulnerable. For example, the City of Avondale, Care 1st and First Things First jointly support a resource center that serves as a one-stop shop for low-income families, providing housing assistance, health and nutrition programs, community meeting space, job assistance and parenting education programs. ROA has partnered with the Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce and FirstBook to purchase books for children enrolled in a set of focus schools in the area. The community operates a Summer Learning Collaborative (SLC) for students who have completed kindergarten through third grade to mitigate summer slide. Data on the SLC reveal that during the summer of 2015, 95 students participating in the SLC maintained or increased literacy skills, while in the summer of 2016, 133 participants maintained or increased literacy skills. Avondale also saw an increase in the number and percent of students who are reading proficiently by the end of the third grade: 17 percent of third graders were reading proficiently in the spring of 2015, while 28 percent were reading proficiently in the spring of 2016.

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