3rd Grade Reading Success Matters

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

State-Level Outreach and Policy

elected officials, policymakers, advocates, and others around the country are making grade-level reading by the end of third grade a priority.

The Campaign works with child and family advocates across the country to help assure a seamless system of care, services and supports from birth through third grade. This includes policy and practice that promotes children’s optimal social, emotional and cognitive development; improves professional development for the early childhood education workforce; and supports parents as their children’s first teacher and best advocate. We work with state advocacy networks—including KIDS COUNT and Voices for Children—as well as State Early Childhood Advisory Councils to better coordinate and align public, private and philanthropic investments in early learning.

More than 30 states have put a stake in the ground around third grade reading. These “stake in the ground” states are proving that there is no single approach, silver bullet or magic formula.

Some have focused on investing in the early years to ensure readiness for kindergarten. Others are supporting improved classroom instruction and extended learning time. Still others have joined community-wide efforts to reduce chronic absence and summer learning loss. Even those states embracing controversial student retention policies present a diverse array of approaches about when and subject to what constraints student should be retained in grade.

In most of these states, the governors, chief state school officers and legislative leaders have been prodded by advocates who realize that third-grade reading offers a coherence-making target for the multi-faceted agenda pursued on behalf of children in the early years and early grades; inspired by proof points provided by exemplary programs and schools; and supported by donors and foundations seeking to tilt more resources toward what works and away from what does not.

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The Get Georgia Reading Campaign is engaging public and private partners across the state to get Georgia reading! Nearly 100 partners are working together on population-focused efforts to provide integrated and coherent support and education to children, with the expectation that every child under the age of eight living in Georgia achieves reading proficiency by the end of 3rd grade. In 2013, 66 percent of 4th graders in Georgia lacked reading proficiency.

In 2013, the Campaign organized three large convenings and a series of “learning journeys” that engaged hundreds of stakeholders in developing an agenda for change to guide the Campaign in supporting children in learning to read by 3rd grade so that they might read to learn throughout school and life. The result is a four-part agenda that identifies the four conditions that are necessary for children to achieve reading proficiency – all of which address the birth through 3rd grade population.

1. Language Nutrition: All children receive language-rich adult-child interactions, which are as critical for brain development as healthy food is for physical growth.
2. Access: All children and their families have access to, and supportive services for, healthy development and success in early childhood and early elementary education.
3. Productive Learning Climate: All educators, families, and policymakers understand and address the impact of the learning climate on social-emotional development, school attendance, engagement, and ultimately student success.
4. Teacher Preparation and Effectiveness: All educators provide high-quality, evidence-informed instruction and effective learning experiences tailored to the needs of each child, regardless of the child’s background.

The Campaign is led by a Cabinet comprised of nearly 30 high-level leaders representing the Governor’s office, eight state departments or agencies, statewide nonprofit organizations, the business community, school superintendents, and funders.

Click here to download a pdf of the Get Georgia Reading Campaign’s brochure.