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All West Virginia Counties Join Nationwide Effort to Boost Early Reading

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July 20, 2015

Grade Level Reading
Ron Fairchild, President and CEO, Smarter Learning Group, along with Clayton Burch, Chief Academic Officer, and Charlotte Webb, Coordinator, Office of Early Learning, West Virginia Department of Education recognized West Virginia’s commitment to increase the number of children reading at grade level by the end of third grade at the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Technical Assistance meeting.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - All West Virginia counties have joined the nationwide Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (GLR), committing to work collaboratively to increase the number of children reading at grade level by the end of third grade as recognized at the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Technical Assistance meeting held today at the Embassy Suites, Charleston, WV.

West Virginia was announced as a statewide campaign partner in January 2015, but today, Ron Fairchild, President and CEO, Smarter Learning Group, and Director, Network Communities Support Center, Campaign for GLR, along with Clayton Burch, Chief Academic Officer, West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) formally recognized all 55 counties for committing to the national effort.

The GLR Communities Network is dedicated to narrowing the gap between children from low-income families and their more affluent peers. According to the U.S. Department of Education, that gap has widened significantly in recent years, with 80 percent of low-income kids failing to read proficiently in fourth grade compared to 49 percent of their more affluent peers. Membership in the GLR Communities Network gives counties access to experts and policymakers focused on the issue, assistance in addressing the challenges that keep many children from learning to read and opportunities to share and learn with similar communities.

“We are committed to a statewide early childhood focus where we teach every child to read on grade level by the beginning of third grade and where pre-literacy development is essential to closing achievement gaps,” state Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Martirano.

In joining the GLR Network, the counties developed formal plans to address three underlying challenges that can keep young children, especially those from low-income families, from learning to read well:

  • School readiness - too many children are entering kindergarten already behind
  • School attendance - too many young children are missing too many days of school
  • Summer learning - too many children are losing ground academically over the summer

Launched in May 2010, the Campaign for GLR is a collaborative effort of funders, non-profit partners, business leaders, government agencies, states and communities across the nation to ensure that many more children from low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career and active citizenship.

For additional information, contact Kristin Anderson at the WVDE Office of Communications at 304-558-2699 or Kristin.Anderson@k12.wv.us.

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