Cities of Service and ServiceNation Award Grants to Eight U.S. Cities to Improve Student Literacy
Cities of Service, a bipartisan coalition of mayors representing nearly 50 million Americans, and ServiceNation today announced that eight U.S. cities have been awarded $40,000 grants to implement the Third Grade Reads Blueprint. Third Grade Reads is a high-impact service strategy in which the mayor’s office leverages the power of volunteers to help children attain reading proficiency by the beginning of fourth grade, funded by Target. Target is on track to give $1 billion for education by the end of 2015, to help kids learn, schools teach, and parents and caring adults engage.
Recipient cities of the Third Grade Reads grants are: Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Charleston, SC; Chula Vista, CA; Cincinnati, OH; Kansas City, MO; Orlando, FL; and Vicksburg, MS.
“Today’s youth are growing up faster than ever before, but one skill that remains essential generation to generation is the ability to read,” said Ken Harbaugh, executive director of ServiceNation. “We’re excited to support cities in adding a powerful and important tool to their efforts to ensure full reading proficiency by all third grade students.”
“Mayors are uniquely positioned to galvanize citizen volunteers to play a critical role in helping students acquire the reading skills they need to succeed in school,” said Katie Leonberger, who runs the Cities of Service coalition. “We looked broadly to identify successful strategies for how volunteers can effectively improve students’ literacy skills – and the blueprint embodies the approaches most likely to improve results.”
As the recent study Reading on Grade Level in Third Grade: How is it Related to High School Performance and College Enrollment? illustrates, students that enter fourth grade without reading level proficiency are at risk of falling behind their peers since after that point, students depend on their reading skills to master other subject areas. A lack of reading level proficiency can impede future academic success.
Through the Third Grade Reads initiative, committed and well-trained volunteers read with and tutor low-performing K-3 students in high-need schools and after-school programs using a curriculum that supports the goals and efforts of the school district.
This volunteer-based literacy intervention program is designed to provide struggling readers with more opportunities to read using research-based tutoring methods ¬– helping improve student reading levels and ultimately increasing their chances of long-term educational success.
Each awardee city will receive a grant to implement the Third Grade Reads Blueprint. These cities were chosen as part of a competitive grants process. The selected grantees stood out for their ambition, demonstrated commitment to improving literacy, and their fidelity to the Third Grade Reads Blueprint. A summary of the cities’ proposals can be found here.
The Third Grade Reads Blueprint is one of ten Service as a Strategy Blueprints, which are ready-to-use, high-impact service strategies available for mayors and their cities to read and download. Each customizable blueprint outlines how the mayor’s office can engage citizen volunteers to address a specific city need in one of six priority areas: education and youth, health, neighborhood revitalization, preparedness and safety, sustainability, and veterans. The blueprints were created with funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies.
To learn more about Cities of Service, Third Grade Reads, or the Service as a Strategy Blueprints, please visit www.citiesofservice.org.
About Cities of Service
Founded in September 2009 in New York City by New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and 16 other mayors from across the nation, Cities of Service is a bipartisan coalition of mayors committed to addressing critical city needs through impact volunteering. American cities face serious challenges and many mayors want to take advantage of every resource available to them – including the time and energy of public-spirited residents – to address those challenges. But in cities across America today, citizen service is often an underutilized or inefficiently utilized strategy by municipal governments. By leveraging citizen service strategies, Cities of Service helps mayors address local needs and make government more effective.
ServiceNation is a campaign to increase national service opportunities and elevate service as a core ideal and problem solving strategy in America. The campaign is focused on two main initiatives: building a permanent grassroots constituency to advance service legislation and challenging the American public to view returning military veterans as civic assets and leaders who will reinvigorate our communities. ServiceNation envisions a day when a commonly asked question in this country is ‘Where do you serve?’ and when all Americans have the opportunity to serve in order to tackle pressing social challenges and strengthen our democracy. For more information, visit www.servicenation.org.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 17, 2012
Christopher Cashman, 212-804-6370, firstname.lastname@example.org
Na’eem Crawford, 212-205-0160, email@example.com