Read to Learn Literacy Campaign Highlights CEO's MessagePublished Friday, January 06, 2012
Out of all our efforts this year on behalf of children and families – many ongoing, some new – I’m especially excited to tell you about our third grade reading level initiative called Read to Learn.
Reading at grade level by the third grade is the leading indicator of school success and high school graduation, yet one-third of our third graders fail to reach this critical benchmark. This pivotal year in a child’s academic life is when experts say kids must make the shift from learning to read to reading to learn. As a result, our campaign has the goal of reducing by half the number of third graders not reading at grade level by 2020.
Ambitious? Absolutely. Yet anything less will cripple the future for all who live and work in Miami-Dade County. It is unacceptable that one-third of our third graders fail to read at grade level and two-thirds do not read proficiently at this decisive juncture. Reading well is an essential skill for living and thriving in an information-based society. When we fail to provide this fundamental aptitude for our young, the costs in human and financial terms are high – drop-outs, an ill-prepared workforce, more adults on public assistance, delinquency and crime. Now is the time for this change. Our efforts in Miami-Dade County coincide with those being made across the state and the nation. Grade-level reading improvement has become a priority, not only for educators, but also for policymakers, civic leaders, parents and advocates. Schools and school districts are being judged by their success in raising this bar. Our Read to Learn campaign is rooted in this growing national sense of urgency across America.
The Trust is leading our countywide effort, but collective impact holds the key. Working collaboratively with us are Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami-Dade County and its Public Library System, the Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade/Monroe, the Miami-Dade Family Learning Partnership, United Way of Miami-Dade, The Children’s Movement of Florida – and many others. Support from the business community will be a vital addition.
literacy component, as do our parenting and home visitation programs. As we focus our efforts on literacy and the Read to Learn campaign, we will be enlisting the support of the entire community. No one organization can resolve this challenge. Together we can. We look forward to your support and partnership as we act on the principle that “all children are our children.”
Modesto E. Abety-Gutierrez