FAQs

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The following is a list of commonly asked questions about the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

What is the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading?

The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a regional movement — in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties — to help all children, especially those from low-income families, succeed in school by ensuring they read on grade level by the end of third grade.

Part of a nationwide movement of more than 360 communities, the Suncoast region is focused on addressing the most common issues and obstacles that impact a child’s ability to read:
— School Readiness
— Attendance
— Summer Learning
— Family Engagement
— Health Determinants

In each county, dozens of nonprofits, schools, community organizations, agencies, and individuals are doing meaningful work related to the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. While there are unique approaches to tackle the needs and challenges of each county, there is much to learn and share together. There are boundary-spanning activities and approaches that benefit all four counties as each works toward helping children learn how to read, by the end of third grade, to succeed in school and in life.

What makes this community movement different from other literacy programs?

Realizing that there is no single policy, program, or practice that will change the trajectory of low-income students, each sector brings their assets to a community movement by working with people, business, nonprofits, government (including schools and libraries), and media. Building relationships around shared values and aspirations requires a common language and shared data. Building this movement will take time, patience, focus, and resources to create opportunities for all.

Isn’t this something the schools should do?

While schools definitely have their role in educating children, the community also has a role. Children are out of school more than 2/3 of their days. Many babies, toddlers,and three-year-olds do not attend formal childcare, and many four-year-olds do not participate in VPK programs. Families are strengthened as they engage with the community to help prepare their children for kindergarten.

The road to being kindergarten ready starts at conception, with the first three years of brain development laying the groundwork for all future learning. Our region is blessed with caring citizens who want to make a difference, and the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading provides opportunities for them to learn how they can help raise our children to achieve the success they deserve.

What is the grade-level reading landscape in Charlotte County?

Each county has unique challenges to address, and there are many opportunities to pursue excellence. Based on 2017 FSA scores, 66 percent of Charlotte County students can read on grade level by the end of third grade. Also, 23.4 percent of children under the age of 18 are living in poverty according to 2016 Florida Kids Count Data.

What is the grade-level reading landscape in DeSoto County?

Each county has unique challenges to address, and there are many opportunities to pursue excellence. Based on 2017 FSA scores, 31 percent of DeSoto County students can read on grade level by the end of third grade. Also, 42 percent of children under the age of 18 are living in poverty according to 2016 Florida Kids Count Data.

What is the grade-level reading landscape in Manatee County?

Each county has unique challenges to address, and there are many opportunities to pursue excellence. Based on 2017 FSA scores, 50 percent of Manatee County students can read on grade level by the end of third grade. Also, 20.5 percent of children under the age of 18 are living in poverty according to 2016 Florida Kids Count Data.

What is the grade-level reading landscape in Sarasota County?

Each county has unique challenges to address, and there are many opportunities to pursue excellence. Based on 2017 FSA scores, 71 percent of Sarasota County students can read on grade level by the end of third grade. Also, 17.9 percent of children under the age of 18 are living in poverty according to 2016 Florida Kids Count Data.

Who is working on the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading?

Dozens of nonprofits, schools, community organizations, and individuals are doing meaningful work related to the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee,  and Sarasota counties.

In addition, lead partners in each community have stepped up to help guide and implement the Suncoast CGLR’s strategies:
— Lead Partners in Charlotte County: United Way of Charlotte County and Community Foundation of Charlotte County
— Lead Partners in DeSoto County: The Education Foundation of DeSoto County, The School District of DeSoto County, ELC of Florida’s Heartland, United Way Suncoast, and Florida Department of Health in DeSoto County
— Lead Partner in Manatee County: United Way Suncoast
— Lead Partner in Sarasota County: Community Foundation of Sarasota County

What is The Patterson Foundation’s role in the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading?

Rather than funding programs, The Patterson Foundation is focused on investing in a regional approach that supports the communitywide vision of success in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties.

The Patterson Foundation’s resources support the local coalitions through:
— Planning assistance
— Sharing national research and best practices with local coalitions
— State and national funding
— Expert knowledge sharing by bringing in speakers
— Fostering community connectivity as Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties in Florida seek ways to learn and share together
— Communications resources to amplify the work

How can I make a donation to the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading initiative?

Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading resources (including intellectual capital, support, and funding) focus on the Suncoast CGLR partnership itself, as opposed to any project/study or program. For this reason, the Suncoast CGLR does not solicit or accept donations.

The United Way Suncoast, United Way of Charlotte County, and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County stand ready to work with any donors interested in supporting Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, or Sarasota county efforts.

We encourage you to visit The Giving Partner to find an organization doing high quality work in early learning or literacy. There are dozens of organizations in every county already doing meaningful work that will contribute positively to the solution areas identified by the nationwide campaign. As the campaign progresses, it will continue to harness the passion and enthusiasm of individuals and organizations making a difference through evidence-based work.

We will feature various programs and organizations doing the work as the campaign progresses as well as provide information on how you can donate your time or money to this important work.

How can I volunteer with the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading initiative?

As the Suncoast CGLR progresses, there will be many opportunities to get involved. To stay informed about volunteer opportunities, we encourage you to sign up for the Suncoast CGLR newsletter and to visit the volunteer section of the Suncoast CGLR website to find out about events scheduled near you.

We also encourage you to visit our Facebook page and follow the Suncoast CGLR on Twitter to stay informed as the campaign develops.

How does the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading benefit communities?

Communities that support the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading understand that an educated community means a stronger future for everyone. It means communities where more people are prepared for higher education or to enter military and civilian service. It means stronger communities prepared to compete in the global economy.