Who: The City of Delray Beach joined a national call to action from the National Civic League for the Campaign for Grade Level Reading and put a stake in the ground on the issue of early literacy
When: In 2011, the City along with its collaborative partners created a long term Community Solutions Action Plan (CSAP) to move the needle on Delray Beach third grade reading proficiency that addresses developmental and academic targets that children need to reach to be successful.
What the problem is: The City learned last year that 55% of its Kindergarten to 3rdgraders do not read on grade level (1,567 students) and in our 4 Title 1 schools the number of students reading on grade level drops to an average of 29%, and this is not acceptable.
Focus on three solutions: Our action plan focuses on three critical issues that keep young children from learning to read well:
- School readiness – Too many young children show up for school not ready to learn
- School attendance - Too many young children in grades K-3 miss too many days of school
- Summer learning - Too many young children in the early grades lose ground over the summer months.
Why the Third Grade: The end of third grade marks a key transition, where children shift from learning to read and are expected to read to learn. We know if children don’t read well by that point they are less likely to catch up, less likely to graduate from high school and less likely to find a good job.
Why we are doing it: We’re doing it because the process of planning brings together all members of our community. We’re doing it because by reaching these children early on, our community can go a long way toward closing achievement gaps, reducing dropout rates and breaking the pernicious cycle of poverty and build a stronger communitySchools can’t do it alone:You may be thinking that teaching children to read is the work of the schools. Today we’re declaring it’s the work of the entire community to support children in learning from birth on. It’s harder for schools to help children succeed if youngsters arrive at school unprepared, if they miss too many days of class or if they lose some of their hard-fought gains over the summer months. The work the communities do to promote the grade-level reading goals will support the work of teachers and principals, allowing them to concentrate their efforts on instruction and curriculum.
It starts before the children get to school: The process of learning, and specifically learning to read, begins long before children reach the school house door. We need to make sure children are born healthy, that parents and child care providers have the latest information on child development, that every child has access to good childcare and preschool programs and that we align what we’re teaching in preschool with the early grades.