Community Leader..

What’s Happening

Dear Grade Level Reading Coalition:

I hope this message finds everyone well. We’ve been hearing lots of great stories about how our city is coming together to encourage daily reading this summer. From community members leading Little Free Library projects to school staff going the extra mile to spread the word about summer reading—there is lots of amazing work happening!

We’re excited to share some of these efforts in this newsletter. Please save the date for our next Coalition Meeting on Wednesday, August 19th from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM at the Family League of Baltimore. We look forward to seeing you all there. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have.

In Partnership,
Kimberly Manns
Program Director

Introducing the Newest Member of the GLR Team: Edward Bush 

Edward 2

We’re excited to introduce Edward Bush, who will be working with Grade Level Reading over the next five weeks through YouthWorks. Edward is going into 10th grade at Reginald F. Lewis High School and believes “reading unlocks a world of imagination for you and helps you become more creative and imaginative.” Some fun facts about Edward:

  • He loves to study and learn science
  • He loves to read books and comics
  • He’s always willing to help people
  • He plays football and runs track

Edward will be helping Grade Level Reading with community engagement and will help the Campaign build a collection of tips from parents about how they help their kids learn to read. We’re so happy to have Edward as part of the team!

Community Leadership: Little Free Library Initiative

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Over the past month, we’ve been working with community leaders in Cherry Hill and Reservoir Hill to install Little Free Libraries to increase access to books and help community members build their own home libraries. We’re excited to report that five Little Free Libraries are now up and running:

  • The Little Free Library at Cherry Hill Homes is being run by Ms. Stewart, Ms. Baze and Ms. Foulks. Under their leadership, over 100 books have already been distributed. Ms. Baze is also working with her Youth Workers to facilitate a reading time each day.
  • At Cherrydale Apartments, Ms. Cleo, Kia and Katina have taken the lead. They are holding story times during Mobile Meals visits and are encouraging kids to write book reports in order to win prizes. Kids who write the best book reports will be honored at Cherrydale Apartment’s National Night Out event.
  • Three Little Free Libraries were installed in Reservoir Hill at Eutaw Marshburn Head Start, Metro Delta Head Start and Matthew Henson Elementary School last week. Ms. Robinson, Ms. Wilkes and Ms. Johnson from Metro Delta Head Start and Ms. Scroggins and Ms. Robinson from Matthew Henson have already secured book donations and are hard at work planning launch events and spreading the word about the libraries.

Thanks to Raising A Reader, Reading Partners, and Village Learning Place for their support, to Habitat for Humanity and Matt Metzger for donating and installing, and to Volunteer Untapped for their work painting the libraries!

Schools Encourage Daily Reading This Summer

growth parties

To fight summer learning loss, many schools are going above and beyond to encourage their students to read daily and to sign up for the Enoch Pratt Free Library Summer Reading Program:

  • Calvin Rodwell Elementary School showed a 50% increase on their reading assessments this year. Each 1st-5th grade class went on a trip to their local Pratt Library where teachers helped their students sign up for the Summer Reading Program. Find out what else they’re doing to promote summer reading here.
  • At Margaret Brent Elementary/ Middle, one 7th/8th grade ELA teacher teamed up with a 6th grader to make a video about summer reading to share with the whole school. Learn more about what they’re up to here.
  • City Neighbors started their first ever summer camp to help keep kids on track. They are walking students to their local library each week so kids can participate in the Pratt Summer Reading Program. Learn more about how the school is promoting reading here.

We’d love to hear what your school or organization is doing to promote summer reading. Email Kimberly Manns at to let us know what you’re up to.

Summer Reading: PSA From Fox 45

PSA screen shot

We are pleased to share this public service announcement produced by Fox 45 to promote daily reading and the Pratt Summer Reading Program. It features anchor, Tom Rodgers, and students from William Pinderhughes Elementary, Govans Elementary and Morrell Park Elementary/ Middle School. Please share to help us raise awareness about the importance of reading daily. Thanks to Fox 45 for their support.

Mayor’s Block Parties Update

block parties

Grade Level Reading is partnering with the Attendance Collaborative to have a tent promoting reading and attendance at this summer’s block parties. We’ve been distributing free books, spreading the word about the Pratt Summer Reading Program, coloring I Heart Reading Crowns and working on a city wide story, while also giving tips about attendance and ways to read as a family. It’s been a blast! Thanks to all who have volunteered and to the Mayor’s Office for having us!

Coalition Needs & Happenings Around Town

As a way to stay connected, we will be including Coalition needs in our monthly newsletter. Please let us know if there is a need or announcement you would like the Coalition to know about by emailing Kimberly Manns at

  • For some families in Baltimore, getting uniforms can be a barrier for going to school—on the first day—and all year long. Help the Attendance Collaborative and Baltimore Community Foundation raise $10,000 for school uniforms. To make a donation, click here and for a flyer, click here.
  • The Mayor’s Back to School Rally is scheduled for Saturday, August 8th from 12pm-3pm. They will be distributing FREE backpacks and school supplies.
  • The Cherry Hill Early Learning Action Coalition is looking to secure backpack and school supply donations for their Back to School Festival. Please contact Malika Jones at or at 410- 828-7700 X1272.
  • The Family League of Baltimore is accepting applications for funding for Out of School Time programs. Learn more here.
  • Baltimore City Public Schools is hosting community conversations about safe neighborhoods, safe schools and school police. Join them.
  • This year, the National Summer Learning Association’s Summer Changes Everything Conference will be in Baltimore, MD from October 12th- 14th. Learn more or register here.