Dear Grade Level Reading Coalition:
My first few of weeks as the Program Director for the Baltimore Campaign for Grade Level Reading have been exciting and inspiring. I have spent this time engaged in a listening tour to learn firsthand the expertise of the Coalition and new directions for where we can grow. I have been struck by what I have heard, and have picked up nuggets of wisdom from folks along the way. What resonates is the deep belief in the transformative power of reading in unleashing a child’s potential.
Whether it is hearing about the popularity of Little Free Libraries and kids clamoring and even climbing inside the LFLs, or learning about teachers that loyally visit the Book Bank, there is much to be inspired by. However, our work is far from finished. As we know, assessment scores show new opportunities for growth and only heighten our urgency to move the needle and improve literacy outcomes.
As the Program Director for the Baltimore Campaign for Grade Level Reading, I look forward to working with each of you to grapple with the work, discover solutions, and improve literacy outcomes as a cohesive body.
Happy reading as you learn more about the current happenings of the Grade Level Reading Campaign. In this newsletter, you can learn more about our pilot to ensure that more children are enrolled in Pre-K, and our summer reading initiative to decrease summer learning loss.
I very much look forward to meeting each of you soon. Please save the date for our next Coalition Meeting (invite forthcoming) on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 from 9am-11am at the Family League of Baltimore (2305 N. Charles St.).
Baltimore Campaign for Grade Level Reading
The Baltimore Campaign for Grade Level Reading, Baltimore City Public Schools, and the Family Literacy Coalition provided grants to Strong City Baltimore and Communities United to maximize the number of low-income children registered for Pre-K at Dallas F. Nicholas Elementary and Gilmor Elementary. The goal of the project was to discover best practices for increasing Pre-K enrollment.
We are excited to announce that each school has a fully enrolled Pre-K with the majority of students classified as priority one. Some best practices for enrollment include having a dedicated staff person to assist with enrollment, door-to-door outreach and school-specific flyers promoting Pre-K. We will have more information about best practices and barriers to enrollment to share in our next Newsletter.
For the last few years the Baltimore Campaign for Grade Level Reading has partnered with Baltimore City Public Schools and the Enoch Pratt Free Library to promote the Summer Reading Program at the Pratt. Activities to promote summer reading included:
- Professional Development Day for Librarians. The Campaign partnered with City Schools and the Enoch Pratt Free Library to connect Pratt Librarians to their City School counterpart during one of the district’s Professional Development Days. The professional development provided opportunities for City Schools’ staff and Enoch Pratt librarians to learn about summer reading, share available resources, and discuss collaboration opportunities. Turnout was strong with over 70 participants taking part.
- Pratt Summer Reading Log Distribution. City Schools distributed the Pratt Summer Reading log to all rising K-5th graders with a letter encouraging families to read and participate in the program over the summer.
- Summer Reading Tool. GLR created an online tool to show schools how many of their students enrolled last year in summer reading and shared best practices for increasing enrollment.
- District Wide Competition. GLR sponsored a competition that rewarded the three schools that increased participation in the Pratt Summer Reading Program the most from last year. Each of the winning schools, Dr. Carter G. Woodson Elementary/Middle, Armistead Gardens Elementary/ Middle and Cross Country Elementary/Middle, will recieve a cash prize that can be used their school budget.
- Flyer Distribution & Social Media Ads. The GLR Coalition distributed almost 8,000 flyers promoting Pratt Summer Reading and GLR placed social media ads promoting the program.
While program registrations decreased from 11,176 in 2015 to 9,628 this year, the percentage of children who completed the program with 35 or more days of reading rose from 35% to 37%. In total, children read over 80,700 days through Pratt Summer Reading.
The Campaign is working closely with City Schools and the Enoch Pratt Free Library to review what we did last summer and plan how to better promote the program this upcoming year.
Limited Time Opportunity from First Book
First Book (a 501c3 that has created a supply pipeline of great books and educational resources to kids in need) has crafted four special Give Big Collections featuring a mix of high-quality and high-interest titles. Thanks to the generosity of their publishing partners, they are able to offer these collections at a price per book of only $1.75. We are thrilled to share this initiative, as it provides First Book’s partners during this giving season with unheard of pricing for terrific, beautiful resources that will be a wonderful gift for children from low-income families.
If you’d like to take a look at the full title and quantity list for each collection, please visit the Give Big Order Form Page.
- This is a limited time opportunity, while inventory lasts so please don’t hesitate to let First Book know if you have any questions.
- Recipients of the books must be educators and caregivers serving children from low-income families.
Please contact Jane Robinson, email@example.com, if you need more details.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Know an individual who should be recognized for excellence in out of school time and youth development? Nominate them for the 1st Annual MOST Awards.
- City Schools is launching their Baltimore Learns Everyday Board Game at Port Discovery on November 16th from 6pm-8pm. Register here to attend.
- The Maryland Book Bank launched their Raven’s Bookmobile, a mobile library packed with close to 2,500 books, including picture books, leveled readers, easy chapter books that children can keep for their own home library. To request that the Raven’s Book Mobile visits your school, click here.
- Children ages 0-5 can receive a FREE book in the mail each month by signing up for the Governor’s Young Reader’s Initiative. Please share. You can sign up here.
- Reading Partners is looking for volunteer tutors to work with struggling readers throughout the school year. Find out more.