and#8216;Campaign for grade-level readingand#8217; launches in Tahoe-Truckee | SierraSun.com

and#8216;Campaign for grade-level readingand#8217; launches in Tahoe-Truckee

Special to the Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Community leaders gathered Jan. 31 to kick off the Tahoe Truckee Reads Campaign and#8212; an effort to shift the needle on third grade reading proficiency. Currently, only 53 percent of Tahoe Truckee Unfied School District third graders meet the third grade proficiency standards. Though this is slightly higher than national and state standards, it is a concerning figure.

The Tahoe Truckee Reads Campaign is working in conjunction with the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, a collaborative effort made up of more than 70 foundations and advocacy groups working to improve outcomes for early literacy.

and#8220;It is exciting to be part of a local campaign that focuses on third grade reading success, something we know is considered a pivotal point in education and#8212; a time when children shift from learning to read and begin reading to learn,and#8221; said Laura Abbey Brown, executive director of Excellence in Education Foundation, which is involved in the Campaign.

The Tahoe Truckee Reads Campaign plans to focus on three obstacles that are known to contribute to literacy challenges: 1) school readiness and#8212; too many young children show up for school not ready to learn; 2) summer learning loss and#8212; many children in the early grades lose ground over the summer months; and 3) school attendance and#8212; too many children in grades kindergarten through third miss too many days of school.

and#8220;If we want to close our achievement gaps, reduce our high school dropout rate, and break the cycle of poverty in our community, we need to focus on our youngest readers,and#8221; said Phebe Bell, program officer, Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, one of the Tahoe Truckee Reads Campaign champions.

The Tahoe Truckee Reads Campaign is also in the running for the 2012 All-American City Award, given to the 10 cities that develop the most comprehensive, realistic, and sustainable plans to increase grade-level reading proficiency by the end of third grade through addressing the three issues.

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and#8220;Grade-level reading is not a new issue but this Campaign brings together stakeholders in the community to identify concrete, specific solutions to address this problem,and#8221; said Alison Schwedner, Community Collaborative of Tahoe Truckee Director.

and#8220;We must hold schools accountable for helping all children achieve. This means providing effective teaching for all children in every classroom, every day. But schools cannot succeed alone. We need health providers, social workers, community nonprofits, faith-based groups, business and civic leaders and local foundations to help,and#8221; stated Dave Curry, director of Educational Services at the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District.

The goal of the Tahoe Truckee Reads Campaign is to move the bar to 100 percent by 2020 for all third graders in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District.

and#8220;What is most exciting about the Tahoe Truckee Reads Campaign is that we actually know how to solve this problem and#8212; something that is not true for many of our nationsand#8217; toughest issues. We know what works; we have proven results and great research evidence. Now, we just need to come together as a community, commit and grow our readers,and#8221; said Lindsay Dunckel, First 5 of Nevada County. Programs may include summer reading, increasing adult-child interaction within the home and strong messaging to parents about absenteeism, immediate follow up when a child is absent, and incentives to children to attend school.

The Campaign is hosting a planning meeting on March 1, 5-7 p.m. at Truckee Elementary School. Those interested in getting more involved in this effort are encouraged to attend. Childcare, pizza and translation services will be provided. Please RSVP to Laura Abbey Brown by calling 530-550-7984.