In Dubuque, 26% of third-grade students are not reading at grade level. Reading proficiently by the end of third grade enables students to shift from learning to read to reading to learn. Studies show that 74% of students who fall behind in reading proficiency at the end of third grade do not graduate from high school, and research shows that children from low-income households are disproportionately affected. Reaching this milestone is important for both our students’ and our community’s future.
Every Child Reads
Every Child Reads brings focus to a key predictor of school success and high school graduation: grade-level reading by the end of third grade. The initiative is a collaborative effort by funders, nonprofit partners, schools and parents to help ensure that all children succeed in school and are prepared for college, a career and active citizenship.
What Has Been Accomplished
Every Child Reads, formerly the Dubuque Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, was formed in 2012 by Every Child/Every Promise and the Community Foundation. Since then, it has successfully built a network of partners addressing three critical areas: summer learning, school readiness and attendance. In 2014 and 2015, the network was named a Pacesetter Community by the National Campaign for Grade-Level Reading for producing measurable outcomes. Some key accomplishments include:
- In 2017, 88% of students who attended Summer Academy maintained or increased reading proficiency, up from 78% in 2016.
- New strategies for responding to chronic absence and improved attendance data have led to a measurable decrease in chronic absence at Title I schools, and data is now collected district-wide.
- Northeast Iowa Community College and the school district have partnered to enhance the pathway to a secondary education in early childhood.
- In 2016, the Community Foundation and Every Child Reads partnered with Vision To Learn to pilot a mobile vision clinic aimed at improving kids’ vision. Through the program, 178 students were examined and 90 received two free pairs of prescription glasses.
- Dubuque reveived the prestigious All-America City Award in 2017 for its civic engagement to help more young children from low-income families achieve grade-level reading proficiency and early school success.
- Grant funding received in 2018 supports the purchase of curriculum materials to align summer literacy instruction for Summer Academy, St. Mark Youth Enrichment and the Dubuque Dream Center.
- Every Child Reads continues to collect and publish shared data to measure progress and inform future work among partners.
What We Are Working On
Campaign partners are currently updating the Community Solutions Action Plan, which will outline new goals to improve outcomes for students in summer learning, school attendance and school readiness as we strive to help more children read at grade level by the end of third grade.