Tahoe Truckee Third Grade Reading Campaign in race for All American Cities Award | SierraSun.com

Tahoe Truckee Third Grade Reading Campaign in race for All American Cities Award

Special to the Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; On March 12, the Tahoe Truckee Reads Campaign, an effort to bolster third grade reading proficiency submitted a plan to be considered for the All-American Cities Award. The Tahoe Truckee region joins more than 120 cities, counties and towns nationally that are committed to moving the needle on third grade reading success. Winning could garner organizational and financial support. Only 10 of the 120 applicants will win this designation.

According to a 2011 Annie E. Casey Foundation study, students who are not reading at grade level by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of school. The poorest performing readers are nearly six times more likely to drop out. Unfortunately, poverty only compounds the problem.

Locally, only 53 percent of TTUSD third graders are meeting third grade proficiency standards. Though this is slightly higher than national and state standards, it is a concerning figure that has moved local leaders to act.

The Tahoe Truckee Reads Campaign, comprised of more than 30 partners, 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;We feel that building community around the importance of Kindergarten preparedness is essential. Itand#8217;s also important that parents understand how critical it is to build early reading skills,and#8221; said Laura Abbey Brown, executive director of the Excellence in Education Foundation, one of the lead agencies for the Campaign. and#8220;Reading skills stay with you for the rest of your life. And if you donand#8217;t have them early, your chances of catching up go down each year.and#8221;

The Tahoe Truckee Reads Campaign plan focuses on three obstacles that research has found 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 during the summer months; and 3) school attendance and#8212; too many children in grades kindergarten through third miss too many days of school.

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The goal of the Tahoe Truckee Reads Campaign is to move the bar from 53 percent reading proficiency to 80 percent by 2020 for all third graders in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District.

Though the Tahoe Truckee Reads Campaign aims to bring up reading success for all third graders, the focus will be on those most at risk for school failure and#8212; the 42 who are considered low-income based on enrollment in the Free-and-Reduced Lunch Program.

To reach this 10-year goal, the Campaign is working to link together programs that already exist in the community and augment these programs with a strong literacy component.

For example, we are fortunate nearly 90 percent of our students attend some type of pre-school. Yet, despite this high number, many children are not arriving at Kindergarten ready to read, according to assessments conducted by teachers during the first few weeks of each school year. An effort to increase literacy training for pre-school staff and reach these parents with messages about reading at home is one example of how the Tahoe Truckee Reads Campaign will work to boost awareness of the importance of developing early reading skills.

Additionally, a communications campaign will be developed to reach parents with messages about the importance of talking to babies in order to build a foundation for early literacy brain development. This communications effort will also stress the importance of summer reading and school attendance, known factors that contribute to reading loss issues.

and#8220;Key to the Tahoe Truckee Reads Campaign is the commitment by all of the partners to do their part in getting the messages out to parents, families, and providers about the importance of developing early literacy skills and#8212; meaning talking to their small children, reading to them, having books in the house, supporting summer reading and#8212; all things that research tells us keeps kids on track for being strong readers their whole lives,and#8221; said Phebe Bell, program officer, Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, another partner in the Campaign.

The plan is in its early stages. To learn more or get involved, please contact Laura Abbey Brown, exed@ttcf.net.

and#8212; Submitted to aedgett@sierrasun.com