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October 31, 2018

Herald-Tribune Launches ‘The Fight for Grade-Level Reading’ Podcast

As part of its ongoing coverage of grade-level reading issues, the Herald-Tribune has launched a new podcast called The Fight for Grade-Level Reading.

The focus on third-grade reading scores stems from a pivotal study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation that found those scores to be one of the best predictors of a child’s academic and adult success.

In 2012, the newly founded Campaign for Grade-Level Reading began with just over 120 communities joining to improve third-grade reading scores. Six years later, more than 390 communities have joined the effort.

Sarasota County joined the campaign in 2014, led by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, followed by Manatee County in 2015, led by United Way Suncoast. Recognizing the regional nature of the work, The Patterson Foundation collaborated with the two lead organizations to form the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

In 2016, The Patterson Foundation and the Herald-Tribune created a partnership designed to educate the community about the importance of grade-level reading. The Patterson Foundation funds a grant that supports expanded news coverage of the many complex issues surrounding the fight for grade-level reading.

After two-and-a-half years covering the importance of school attendance, the effect of health on academic success, the impact of summer learning, the role of parent engagement and other issues that affect third-grade reading scores, we decided to look beyond our own communities for solutions that others have created to tackle some of these problems. That’s why the Herald-Tribune created The Fight for Grade-Level Reading podcast.

Each week we will interview researchers on early childhood development and literacy; people who have successfully implemented programs on the local and national level; funders, authors, parents, and children who are involved in the fight about what has worked for them.

We also want to hear from you. You can share your experiences in the fight for grade-level reading by connecting with us at, or by leaving us a message at 941-361-4820.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Omny, Google Podcasts or by searching in your favorite podcast app.

This story comes from a partnership between the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and the Herald-Tribune, funded by The Patterson Foundation, to cover school readiness, attendance, summer learning, healthy readers and parent engagement. Read more stories at

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