Community Solution Areas

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading has identified three key solutions that are moving the needle on third-grade reading proficiency nationwide: Attendance, School Readiness, and Summer Learning.


Chronic absence is a measure of how much school a student misses for any reason. It is a broader measure than truancy, which only tracks unexcused absences. Starting in the early grades, the percentage of students missing 10 percent of the school year can reach remarkably high levels, and these early absences can rob students of the time they need to develop literacy skills.

Tracking chronic absence is a data-driven solution that can be built into federal grant applications and can be an integral part of parent engagement programs. It can be a goal for a funder’s investment – or a measure of a grantee’s success. Chronic absence can also tip off communities to families and neighborhoods in need of further support since poor school attendance can be an early warning sign of challenging social, economic and health conditions.

Here are some key attendance facts for our region and beyond:

  • In the Manatee-Sarasota region, nearly 10,000 students are chronically absent
  • In some communities, chronic absence affects 1 in 4 children
  • Nationally, as many as 7.5 million students miss 10 percent or more of the school year – that’s 135 million days

For more information on the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s efforts to reduce chronic absence nationally, please visit

Attendance Awareness Month Poster Contest

For Attendance Awareness Month in September, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading hosts an Attendance Awareness Poster Contest to promote good attendance habits and help students and parents understand why going to school every day matters. Visit for more information.

This infographic illustrates the importance of consistent attendance for our youngest students. Image courtesy of Attendance Works (Click to Enlarge)


School Readiness

Just as there is an achievement gap in school performance, there is a school readiness gap that separates disadvantaged children from their more affluent peers. As early as 18 months, low-income children begin to fall behind in vocabulary development and other skills critical for school success. Parents play an enormous role in closing this gap, as do daycare providers, pediatricians, preschool programs, and the broader community.

Research shows that learning begins long before a child enters kindergarten. Children — even infants — soak up words, rhymes, songs and images. Vocabulary development is of particular importance. A child’s health and the timely recognition of developmental delays is another critical aspect of school readiness. Doctors, care providers, and preschool teachers play a vital role.

View the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s presentation on the importance of early learning.

For more information on the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s efforts to promote school readiness nationally, please visit

 Kindergarten Readiness Play Days: Sarasota


To register, please visit and click on “Library Events”.


 Kindergarten Readiness Play Days: Manatee


Join us for a morning of games, activities, stories, and learning designed to build skills to help children succeed in school. Educators will guide families through stations and share tips and ideas on how parents can assist their children to be ready for school. * Snacks will be provided.

Access the Kindergarten Readiness Guide filled with ideas and activities for parents and children

Kindergarten Readiness Checklist

Summer Learning

Research spanning 100 years has proven that students lose ground academically when they are out of school for the summer. The problem is particularly acute among low-income students who lose an average of more than two months in reading achievement in the summer, which slows their progress toward third-grade reading proficiency – and exacerbates the achievement gap with their middle-class peers.

Funders, policy makers, and community leaders can help schools and local organizations address summer learning loss by supporting strong programs engaging more children in summer learning opportunities. Transcending the punitive and remedial model of summer school, summer learning’s new form is a blend of core academic learning, hands-on activities, arts, sports, technology and meaningful relationships.

For more information on the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s efforts to reduce summer learning loss nationally, please visit


2018 Summer Book Challenge

The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is sponsoring the 2018 Suncoast Summer Book Challenge.
Goal: Participating students will read and log at least six books at their appropriate reading level during the summer months.

Summer camp providers, library systems, school systems, summer recreation locations, foundations, and teaching artists will work collaboratively to provide summer learning opportunities to all children, especially those from low-income families. This collaboration will allow for integrated programming, efficiency savings through shared experiences, increased learning through shared knowledge and data, and will help develop a stronger more unified voice in support of our most vulnerable children.

Participating students will be provided with the official Suncoast Summer Book Challenge Log and a Family Guide. The Family Guide is also available in Spanish. As children finish books and enter them into their logs, they will be awarded brightly colored silicone bracelets, a different color for each book read. Summer Book Challenge providers will encourage and motivate the students to complete at least six books to help combat the loss of reading proficiency during the summer, often called “Summer Slide.”

2017 was the inaugural year for the Summer Book Challenge. More than 2,600 students signed up to participate; 918 students successfully completed six books. The 22 participating sites reported a total of 10,730 books read. Participants were proud of the achievements of the first challenge, and are doubly excited as we look at the horizon for summer 2018.  Already, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading has more than 50 providers ready to participate!

The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading will be keeping track of the number of children participating in the challenge, and the number of books read. In partnership with the public school systems, iReady scores will be used to determine the amount of summer gains or losses in reading. All students who reach the six book goal will participate in a special welcome back to school event.

Six books to summer success: Research shows that reading six books at the appropriate reading level during the summer may keep a struggling reader from regressing.

The benefits of summer reading programming for children:

  • Children are motivated to read
  • Children develop positive attitudes about reading, books, and the library
  • Children maintain their reading skills during summer vacation
  • Children have access to experiences that further their sense of discovery
  • Children have access to experiences through which they can learn to work cooperatively

Access the 2018 Suncoast Summer Reading Family Guide

Access the 2018 Suncoast Summer Reading Family Guide in Spanish

Access the 2018 Suncoast Summer Reading Log

Read “HOW TO FIND YOUR CHILD’S NEXT GREAT READ” by Dr. Jessica Patella showcasing highly-rated books for grades K-3rd including top rated books by kids!

Cross-Cutting Issues

The Campaign also recognizes the influence of health and parents on the success of these solution areas.

Healthy Readers

We know that learning begins at birth, and that healthy development significantly impacts children’s ability to learn: Children who are on track in their physical, social, emotional, cognitive and verbal development are more successful learners from their earliest years, and they are more likely to become proficient readers.

At every age and stage of development, children from low-income families often receive less, and lower-quality, health care and services. As a result, they experience poor health at higher rates than children from higher income families. For example, they have:

  • Higher rates of developmental delays and disabilities related to learning, which affect their school readiness;
  • Higher rates of asthma that affect their school attendance; and
  • Fewer opportunities for high-quality nutrition especially during the summer. Since poor nutrition affects learning, such missed opportunities can contribute to summer learning loss.

These health disparities – differences in health that favor children from more advantaged families – are reflected in lower levels of reading proficiency for children from low-income households.

For more information on the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s efforts to promote healthy development nationally, please visit

Successful Parents

Parents play the most powerful and influential role in their children’s lives. As their children’s first teacher, brain builder, tech navigator, advocate and coach, parents set the stage for success in the early years and early grades. Parents can best ready children for school, establish good school attendance habits and prevent summer learning loss. The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading recognizes that parents are the secret sauce!

Without parents, it is unlikely that we can make progress on the Campaign’s three community solutions areas – readiness, attendance, summer – or, ultimately, on third-grade reading. This is why a focus on supporting parents should be integrated across all of our work in Campaign communities across the country.

To assist communities, the Campaign has developed a framework that identifies nine essential competencies that communities can help parents strengthen in order to support their children’s school readiness, school attendance, and summer learning. The competencies are supported by science, research and what the field is learning about the important responsibilities and roles parents play in helping their children succeed.

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As a companion to the framework, the Campaign has produced three Supporting Parent Success Resource Guides, one for each Campaign community solutions area. The guides explain why the competencies matter; share proven and promising programs, tools and resources; highlight other inspiring community efforts; and offer ways to measure impact.

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Visit the National Campaign’s website for more information.

Everyday Hero


I have heard comedians, scholars, and sleep-deprived new parents say the same thing, “Babies don’t come with instruction manuals.” Think about that for a second. Babies don’t come with instruction manuals, yet the toaster I recently purchased had a full-color, 8-page instruction booklet right in the box.

Brain science tells us that the first three years of life are critical in developing the brain architecture that provides the framework for all future learning. We know that the parent-child relationship and the environment of the family provide a foundation for a child’s healthy development. Wow! That’s a lot of pressure for a parent. Parents can feel overwhelmed and underprepared for the hundreds of decisions they make daily in the lives of their children. The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading wants to help parents succeed. We spoke with hundreds of parents and came up with a way to support them through their parenting journey. We call it, Everyday Hero.

We know the daily back-and-forth interactions between parents and children, the sharing of songs, books and rhymes, the simple routines that add structure to a child’s learning, all of these are ways that parents can help their children build their brains. These are the activities of an Everyday Hero. The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading has assembled a library of textable tips and reminders that will help parents help their children. It’s easy to sign up for the tips.

Parents can text EverydayHero to 77453 for weekly tips on how they can create learning experiences for their children — and it’s completely FREE. The Campaign delivers up to two text messages each week to parents. Tips will be sorted by the following age groups:

0-1 Years Old – Infants
Sample Tip: Babble with your baby every day, it’s their way of talking. Mimic the sounds to “talk” back and have a conversation.

2-3 Years Old – Toddlers
Sample Tip: Brushing your child’s hair? Talk about it! “Who has hair the same color as yours?” “Is  your hair long or short?”

4 Years Old – Pre-K
Sample Tip: Talk about what’s happening in every book instead of just reading it. Ask questions and share what you think of the story too.

5-8 Years Old – K-3rd Grade
Sample Tip: Sing songs, read rhyming books, and say silly tongue twisters together. Help kids become sensitive to the sounds in words. Parents want what’s best for their kids, and SCGLR wants to be able to provide tools and encouragement to be an Everyday Hero!

SCGLR is looking forward to supporting parents as they propel their children to success.

– Beth Duda, Director of Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading