FAQs for Educators

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 children from birth through 3rd grade, especially those from asset-limited families, succeed in life by ensuring they read on grade level.

Part of a nationwide movement of more than 390 communities, the Suncoast region focuses 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 each county’s needs and challenges, 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 succeed in school and in life.

What makes this community movement different from other literacy programs?

Realizing there is no single policy, program, or practice that will change the trajectory of children from asset-limited families, each sector brings its assets to this community movement by working with people, businesses, nonprofits, government (including schools and libraries), and the media. Building relationships around shared values and aspirations require 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 have a role in educating children, the community also has its role. Children are out of school for more than 2/3 of their day, and many babies, toddlers, and three-year-olds do not attend formal childcare. Additionally, many four-year-olds do not participate in VPK programs. The road to being kindergarten-ready starts at conception, with the first five years of brain development laying the groundwork for all future learning. Blessed with caring citizens in our region who want to make a difference, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading provides opportunities for each county to learn how to help raise our children to achieve the success they deserve.

How do you know that the Suncoast Campaign for Grade Level Reading is making a difference in our communities?

The Campaign makes every effort to collaborate throughout the region to get data-driven results and anecdotal evidence of the changes in assessments, behaviors, and attitudes of children in our four-county area. Looking at testing scores to increases in the number of library cards to stories of children changing from being a resistant reader to an engaged reader all point to ongoing changes for our community!

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

When the dangers surrounding the pandemic have subsided, there will be many opportunities to get involved. To stay informed about volunteer opportunities, we encourage you to sign up for the SCGLR newsletter and visit the website’s volunteer section to find out about events scheduled near you.

We also encourage you to visit SCGLR’s Facebook and Instagram pages, and follow SCGLR on Twitter to stay informed as the campaign develops.

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 2019 FSA scores, 69 percent of Charlotte County students can read on grade level by the end of third grade. Also, 18.3 percent of children under the age of 18 live in poverty, according to the 2017 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 2019 FSA scores, 34 percent of DeSoto County students can read on grade level by the end of third grade. Also, 37.2 percent of children under the age of 18 live in poverty, according to the 2017 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 2019 FSA scores, 51 percent of Manatee County students can read on grade level by the end of third grade. Also, 17 percent of children under the age of 18 live in poverty, according to the 2017 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 2019 FSA scores, 70 percent of Sarasota County students can read on grade level by the end of third grade. Also, 14.8 percent of children under the age of 18 live in poverty, according to the 2017 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.

Also, lead partners in each community have stepped up to help guide and implement the Suncoast CGLR’s strategies:
— Lead Partner in Charlotte County: United Way of Charlotte County
— Lead Partner in DeSoto County: United Way Suncoast
— 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 focuses on investing in a regional approach that supports the community-wide 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
— Highlighting state and national funding
— Fostering community connectivity as Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties seek ways to learn and share together
—Providing 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, rather than any project/study or program. For this reason, the Suncoast CGLR does not solicit or accept donations. United Way SuncoastUnited 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.

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

Struggling with reading in the primary years will ripple throughout a child’s educational lifespan. 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 and are ready to enter military and civilian service. It means stronger communities prepared to compete in the global economy.

Does SCGLR offer grants to promote reading programs for children?

Although SCGLR does not offer traditional grants, The Patterson Foundation serves as a dedicated partner to our local community by generously offering several programs and initiatives aimed at increasing childhood literacy and fostering a love for reading.

Why is it important for the community to be involved in grade-level reading?

Research shows that proficiency in reading by the end of third grade enables students to shift from learning to read to reading to learn. Many students who do not reach this important milestone falter in the later grades. Although schools must be accountable for helping children achieve, schools cannot succeed alone. Engaged communities come together to remove barriers, expand opportunities, and assist families in fulfilling their roles and responsibilities in assuring student success.

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