GLR February 201..

What’s Happening

Dear Grade Level Reading Coalition,

I hope this message finds you well. We were sorry to have to postpone our GLR Coalition Meeting due to weather.  We have rescheduled our meeting for Thursday, March 24th from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM at the Family League of Baltimore. We have some great content and speakers planned, including a presentation from City Schools on their proposed literacy strategy. We hope to see everyone there!

Thanks again to those who came and picked up their communications materials. We will go into more detail about our new communications tools in this newsletter. Per our conversations in the Coalition, these tools and our redesigned website bmorereadmore.org have been created for us to use collectively and uniformly to talk about the value of daily reading and where to find resources. We look forward to getting feedback about these tools as you begin to use them with them with the families you serve.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or feedback you may have. I look forward to seeing everyone on March 24th.

In Partnership,
Kimberly Manns
Program Director

How One School Improved Reading Assessment Scores

In the ’14-’15 school year, Calvin Rodwell Elementary was able to significantly improve TRC reading scores. Learn their story in this new video from the Campaign.

Calvin Rodwell Video Image

Apply to Host A Little Free Library

We are thrilled to announce that, based on Coalition feedback, we are expanding our Little Free Library Program in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake!

We are now accepting applications for community leaders to host Little Free Libraries to be installed this summer! Please forward the below application to community leaders that you think would benefit from having a Little Free Library in his/her community and who will serve as good partners for the Campaign. We are looking for community leaders who will help make sure Baltimore City families are aware of the literacy resources offered by the Coalition.

Note: We currently have partnerships with a range of community leaders such as churches, public housing, public agencies and schools and would like to continue to encourage a diverse set of applicants.

Click here to apply for a Little Free Library or for more information! Applications are due by March 15th, 2016. Libraries will be installed this summer. The number of libraries built will be based on demand and available funding to meet the need.

For questions, please email Kimberly at kimberlym@ffee.org.

P.S- Here is one of our Little Free Libraries in action!

Free Library 1

B’More, Read More Communications Update

newsletter comm tools

As we think about how we, as a Coalition, can work together to help families, an important factor to consider is joint communication. To help with this, GLR worked with families to create a consistent way to talk to families about reading, B’More Read More (Reading Is Everywhere), for our partners to use.

Over the past few months, Grade Level Reading has worked with Bramble Lab to create the following communications tools based on what we heard from families, service providers and community leaders:

  • Brochure/Magnet & Poster that show how reading can help create a vision for the future and shares reading resources and tips for reading at home.
  • Stickers with reading tips to be placed on books that are distributed by Coalition partners to families in Baltimore.
  • Post it notes to help reinforce that reading is everywhere. Post-it notes are designed so parents can label objects around the house to engage their child in literacy activities.

We are excited to hear your feedback as you begin to use these tools with the families you serve.

Coalition Updates

As a way to stay connected, we include Coalition needs in our monthly newsletter. Please email Kimberly Manns if there is a need or announcement you would like the Coalition to know about at kimberlym@ffee.org.

  • Congratulations Carla Hayden. from the Enoch Pratt Free Library, on her nomination from President Obama to serve as the next Librarian of Congress. Watch the official video announcement here.
  • Enrollment for the Governor’s Young Readers Initiative begins March 1st. Children 5 and under can register to receive a FREE book mailed to their door each month. This initiative is being coordinated by The Family League of Baltimore in partnership with the Governor’s Office For Children. Learn more.
  • The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation’s Library Project Book Drives kicks off on March 1st. This year’s efforts will support their two newest library schools – Hampden Elementary/Middle School and George Washington Elementary School. The book drive will run the entire month of March. Click here for more information.
  • Join The Akoben Foundation tonight, February 26th from 6pm-7pm at Lyndhurst Elementary for a performance of Where the Wild Things Are by students from their Reading, Rhythm and the Arts Program. For more information, click here.
  • Apply to be a summer meal site this summer through Family League.
  • Reading Partners is looking for volunteer tutors to work with struggling readers throughout the school year. Find out more.
  • Get engaged! Find out ways you can support The Baltimore Education Coalition’s effort to stop a 35 million dollar cut in funding to Baltimore City Public Schools, click here for more information.

Policy Updates

See below for a message from Margaret Williams, from partner organization Maryland Family Network, on the HB 688/ SB 584: “Preschool Development Grants – Expansion Grants – Required State Funding:

We wanted to make you aware of HB 668 / SB 584: “Preschool Development Grants – Expansion Grants – Required State Funding. The federal Preschool Development Grant Maryland received in 2014 offers the State an opportunity to leverage pre-K expansion with federal dollars. This legislation will insure that Maryland meets its obligations under the grant and sustains its momentum toward the goal of providing universal access to public pre-K.

Based on national research and evidence from Maryland’s own kindergarten assessment data, it is clear that access to a high-quality preschool program is the key to providing every child with a better opportunity to succeed in school and throughout life. State-funded pre-K is the most reliable way to deliver high-quality preschool, and universal access is important. In fact, research indicates that the readiness gap between middle-income and upper-income children is greater than the gap between middle-income and lower-income children. Pre-K offers an opportunity for all children, regardless of socioeconomic status, to start school armed with the skills necessary for future success.

The Prekindergarten Expansion Act of 2014 committed Maryland to an annual investment of $4.3 million in state funds for pre-K. That investment helped Maryland win a federal Preschool Development Grant of $15 million annually for four years. The state funding of $4.3 million annually plus a commitment of an additional $3.7 and $7.4 million in years 3 and 4 of the grant (State FYs 2018 and 2019) are an investment that will be repaid many times over. This legislation will require the Governor to meet Maryland’s commitment in order to pull down the remaining federal funds.

HB 668 / SB 584 is about sustaining this momentum. It is a great investment in dollars and sense, and it is a great investment in Maryland’s young learners and their families. If you are interested in supporting this legislation, please communicate your support to: Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer, Chair, and Honorable Members, Senate Budget & Taxation Committee, c/o edward.kasemeyer@senate.state.md.us; and Del. Maggie McIntosh, Chair, and Honorable Members, House Appropriations Committee, c/o maggie.mcintosh@house.state.md.us

If you have any questions, please contact Clinton Macsherry at cmacshery@marylandfamilynetwork.org.