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Campaign for Grade-Level Reading honors cities, counties & states working to ensure more low-income students master reading by the end of third grade

Two states and 37 communities have been named 2013 Pacesetters by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, an honor that recognizes their efforts to mobilize civic, business and community leaders to work with schools, libraries and other organizations toward the goal of improving early reading. 

The Pacesetters announcement marks the first of three announcements this year to recognize exemplary efforts and accomplishments of the 140 communities participating in the GLR Campaign, a nationwide movement to improve high school graduation rates by increasing the number of children from low-income families who hit the critical milestone of reading proficiently by the end of third grade.

The 2013 Pacesetters are:

"These Pacesetter communities saw the potential and seized the opportunities presented by Summer Learning Day and Attendance Awareness Month," said Ralph Smith, managing director of the GLR Campaign and a senior vice president at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. “Moreover, they took the time to share what they did and what they learned with other communities in the Grade-Level Reading Network."
Chronic absence and the summer slide are major challenges that keep children, especially those from low-income families, from mastering reading by the end of third grade. One in 10 kindergarten and first-grade students misses nearly a month of school each year, and those absences correlate with weaker third-grade reading skills. Likewise, students from low-income families can lose two to three months of reading skills each summer without some sort of engaging activity.
Recognizing this, the Pacesetters were among 79 communities from the Grade-Level Reading Communities Network that participated in Summer Learning Day in June, a national advocacy day designed to spread awareness about the importance of summer learning and strategies to address it. “High-quality summer learning experiences play a critical role in ensuring that students keep their skills on track and close the achievement gap,” said Sarah Pitcock, CEO of the National Summer Learning Association. “These communities have shown great dedication to strengthening summer learning opportunities so that all kids can succeed.”
In September, the Pacesetters were among 78 GLR communities that marked the first-ever nationwide Attendance Awareness Month by promoting the importance of regular school starting as early as preschool or by tracking and intervening with chronically absent students. “Too many absences for any reason can be one of the first signs that a student is headed off track for reading proficiency,” said Hedy Chang, director of Attendance Works. “These communities brought schools and local partners together to spread the word.”
The Pacesetters also shared their work and challenges on the GLR Campaign website’s Tell Our Story page.

The GLR Campaign named an initial set of Pacesetters in July 2012, recognizing leaders in school readiness, attendance or summer learning, as well as leadership in the nationwide effort. Later this year, the Campaign will recognize communities that are building exemplary messaging and communications efforts, as well as those emerging as practice and action leaders.



Launched in May 2010, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a collaborative effort of funders, nonprofit partners, states and communities across the nation to ensure that many more children from low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career and active citizenship. It focuses on reading proficiency by the end of third grade, a key predictor of high school graduation and a milestone missed by fully 80 percent of low-income children. For media inquiries, contact Phyllis Jordan at or 301-656-0348