GLR October 2017..

What’s Happening

Dear Grade Level Reading Coalition:

I hope this message finds you well.

Thanks to everyone who attended our October Coalition Meeting for a productive meeting! The Baltimore Education Coalition and Strong Schools Maryland shared some great information about how we can effectively advocate for schools to receive adequate and equitable funding through the Kirwan Commission and it was inspiring to see how many Coalition Members will be participating in this work.

We also explored how we, as a Coalition, can play a role in Baltimore City Public Schools Blueprint’s focus on literacy—especially around how to showcase student work. We look forward to connecting more with all of you around this opportunity.

We will share a date for our next Coalition Meeting shortly and I look forward to seeing everyone then. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or feedback you may have.

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

Little Free Library Small Grants Update

Eleven Grade Level Reading Little Free Libraries recieved grants of up to $1,000 to support a range of projects that promote reading in their communities. Some examples include: a bilingual reading circle, a series of family workshops on developing reading skills, reading themed block parties, and purchasing books specifically requested by community members.

We are excited by the success of these projects:

  • Over 300 families participated in projects implemented through these small grants
  • 5 out of the 11 Little Free Libraries partnered with the Enoch Pratt Free Library to promote the library and its resources
  • Over 1,000 books distributed
  • 9 Little Free Libraries plan to continue the projects they have started

Little Free Library Ambassadors

Grade Level Reading is seeking Little Free Library Ambassadors to help increase access to books for kids in Baltimore City. The Ambassadors will be assigned to one of our 37 Little Free Libraries in Baltimore City, which are places where anyone can come at any time to take or leave a book.

As a Little Free Library Ambassador, you will help keep books stocked by visiting the Maryland Book Bank at least once monthly and bringing books to your site.

Ambassadors must:

  • Have access to reliable transportation
  • Be able and willing to lift 20+ pounds
  • Attend an introductory meeting at their site

Ambassadors are needed for the following Little Free Libraries:

  • Cherry Hill Homes (2700 Spelman Rd, Baltimore MD 21225)
  • Grace Memorial Baptist Church (1100 N Eden St, Baltimore, MD 21213)
  • Brehms Lane Public Charter School (3536 Brehms Ln, Baltimore, MD 21213)

If you are interested, please email

Summer Challenge– School Winners 

Every year Grade Level Reading, the Enoch Pratt Free Library and Baltimore City Public City Schools partner to promote participation in the Pratt Summer Challenge by rewarding the schools that show the biggest increase in days logged for K-5th graders.

We are excited to announce our 2017 winners:

  1. Harford Heights Elementary/Middle with 1578 days logged (up from 183 last year—762% increase).
  2. Edgewood Elementary with 660 days logged (up from 130 last year—408% increase).

Both schools worked closely with their local Enoch Pratt Free Library to increase participation. Harford Heights also worked with their local Pratt Branch to ensure children participating in their Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Library’s SummerREADS program also enrolled in the Pratt Summer Challenge.

Harford Heights Elementary/Middle will receive $1,000 and Edgewood Elementary will get $500 for literacy resources. Harford Heights has already used some of their prize to fund a family literacy night

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

  • Join Baltimore City Schools for a series of meetings about next steps in school budgeting.
  • The Maryland Book Bank is looking for people to host Fall Book Drives. Help them reach their goal of collecting 7,000 books for children accross Maryland. More information here. 
  • Strong Schools Maryland, a statewide effort aimed at creating a world-class education system for every student in Maryland, is looking for people to lead a team of 10 people to take a monthly action to advocate for adequate and equitable funding for schools. Learn more in this video.
  • Improving Education is looking for organizations to participate in their Bedtime in a Box project. If you are interested in learning more email
  • Ready at Five will host its 40th School Readiness Symposium, Equity in Literacy Must Start Early, on December 14th, 2017. This event with feature guest speaker Dr. Nell K. Duke. For tickets and to learn more, click here.
  • Reading Partners is now recruiting volunteers for the ’17 – ’18 school year. Spend one hour a week tutoring a child in reading. More information here.
  • Kirwan Commission Delays Plan on School Funding. Get more information in this Baltimore Sun article.
  • Save the Date for the Baltimore Education Coalition’s Unity Event on November 29th. Location to be announced shortly.