GLR January 2017..

What’s Happening

Dear Grade Level Reading Coalition:

I hope this message finds everyone well and refreshed from the holidays! Grade Level Reading is gearing up for a busy Spring. In this newsletter, you will learn more about some of our recent initiatives, such as our new first grade project, winter break kits given out through the Little Free Libraries and more.

We will share even more about this work at our next Coalition Meeting on Wednesday, February 21st from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM at the Family League of Baltimore (2305 N. Charles St). We hope to see you all there.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or feedback you may have in the meantime.

In Partnership,
Angelique Jessup
Program Director
Baltimore Campaign for Grade Level Reading

Little Free Library Winter Break Kits

Grade Level Reading provided 12 Little Free Library sites, who served children over Winter Break, with ready to use activities to keep kids learning.

Desinged specifically for students in Pre-K- 5th grade, the kits were offered in English and Spanish and included:

  • Activity pages with reading and math activities
  • Cause and effect flash cards
  • Baltimore Learns Every Day Game (an interactive game developed by Baltimore City Public Schools to encourage learning at home)
  • 15-20 new books
  • All the materials needed to complete the activities

In a follow-up survey, sites who received the kits reported that these activities increased time spent on academic enrichment, were fun and easy to implement and helped staff with their day-to-day tasks. Sites indicated that they will continue to use these materials and would like to receive kits like this for future breaks.

Thanks to the T. Rowe Price Foundation for their support of the Little Free Libraries and to Baltimore City Public Schools’ Office of Engagement for their donation of Baltimore Learns Every Day Games.

First Grade Work

The period spanning the end of kindergarten through the beginning of second grade is critical for on track literacy growth. Data shows that far too many City Schools students are falling off track in first grade, making it difficult to overcome literacy challenges in subsequent grades.

Knowing this information, Grade Level Reading decided to partner with Baltimore City Public Schools and Improving Education– a non-profit working closely with kindergarten and first grade teachers at 10 schools– to ensure first grade students stay on track. We will work to increase access to books, summer learning opportunities, and family engagement around literacy for teachers, students and families in the Improving Education cohort.

In addition, we will be working to create communications around first grade literacy achievement and milestones for families. These materials will be ready for distribution at the start of 2018 – 2019 school year.

We look forward to sharing more details at our upcoming Coalition Meeting on Wednesday, February 21st from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM at the Family League of Baltimore.

Heart of the Schools–Nominations Open

Each year the Fund for Educational Excellence hosts the Heart of the Schools Awards, a night to celebrate the great work of Baltimore City Public Schools Principals.

Do you know an awesome Baltimore City Public Schools Principal? Nominate them for the Heart of the School Awards. It only takes a few minutes. Show them how much you appreciate their great work. Click to nominate online and spread the word. Nominations are due January 31.

Coalition Updates

As a way to stay connected, we include Coalition needs in our monthly newsletter. Please email Carrie Finkelstein if there is a need or announcement you would like the Coalition to know about at

  • The Summer Funding Collaborative is now accepting applications for summer programs serving Baltimore youth. Applications are due February 2nd, 2018. Details here.
  • City Schools is hosting a Town Hall Meeting to hear from the community about building maintenance, snow day decisions and next steps on Monday, January 22nd from 6:00 PM – 8:00PM at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. Flyer can be found here.
  • Enoch Pratt Free Library locations have extended their hours. See the new schedule here.
  • Help a student improve their reading skills by volunteering with Reading Partners. More information here.
  • Sign up to volunteer at The Maryland Book Bank here.