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Milestones & History

2022: Suncoast Remake Learning Days

In 2022, the Suncoast of Florida became the 17th region in the country to participate in national Remake Learning Days. Remake Learning Days (RLD) is a learning festival that celebrates the many learning opportunities in a community! This celebration highlights innovative experiences and opportunities for youth to develop their sense of creativity, perseverance, and curiosity. The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, with support from The Patterson Foundation, produced the inaugural Suncoast Remake Learning Days Festival, a 10-day festival of free events for children and families hosted by community partners, including museums, libraries, schools, after-school organizations, colleges, universities, nonprofits, and businesses. Organized by learning themes, including the arts, maker spaces, outdoor learning, science, technology, youth voice, and professional development, the events provide hands-on multigenerational fun and learning!

2021: THIS BOOK IS COOL! In School

The overwhelming success of THIS BOOK IS COOL! summer program helped us understand the opportunities for expanding the offerings to teachers and educators during the school year. We began working with educators and administrators throughout the four-county region to develop standards-based lesson plans, classroom resources, and family engagement activities to assist teachers in their efforts to help children in grades PreK-3 become superstar readers. These lesson plans and resources were developed to provide maximum flexibility for teachers. Each three-book unit is designed around a focused theme. The lessons can be taught as a stand-alone ELA block or as part of an integrated curriculum through extension activities.


In the spring of 2020—as the COVID-19 virus disrupted schools, after-school programs, and plans for summer learning—Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading sprang into action to give children and families motivation to keep reading! As the campaign welcomed back the Suncoast Summer Reading Challenge, it introduced THIS BOOK IS COOL! – a series of 100 webisodes to encourage a love of reading. It premiered on June 1, and more than 1,000 children from across the Suncoast region qualified to receive free books, thanks to the generosity of The Patterson Foundation. In total, 5,302 children participated, reading 94,383 books!

2019 Suncoast Campaign for Grade-level Reading Officially Becomes a 4-County Initiative

By February 2019, both Charlotte and DeSoto counties had joined the nationwide Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. The Suncoast region became the first 4-county area out of more than 300 GLR communities to work together to help children from birth through 3rd grade, especially those from asset-limited families, succeed in life by ensuring they read on grade level.

2019: The Power of Presence Book Circles

To harness the inherent power of Suncoast families and strengthen the parents who shape them, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, with support from The Patterson Foundation, facilitated a series of book circles open to the community to explore The Power of Presence, written by Peabody Award-winning author Joy Thomas Moore. Each book circle, comprised of a small group, met regularly to discuss the book in which author Joy Thomas Moore reflects on her journey as a single mother and explores the seven pillars of presence.

2018: Inaugural Suncoast Summer Blast Off Event

More than 75 summer camp providers, library systems, school systems, summer recreation locations, foundations, teaching artists, and area businesses joined together for the Suncoast Summer Book Challenge “Blast Off,” where passionaries were trained to strengthen their abilities to combat the summer slide.

2018: Pop Up Neighbor Through Laundry

The first two Pop-Up Neighbor events sponsored by the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and The Patterson Foundation were held at the SuperMatt Laundromat/Lavandería in Bradenton and SupperMatt Laundromat in North Sarasota. Customers who walked into the Laundromats between 10am–1pm received a gift — 100% of their laundry fees paid. Jason Sowell and Lester Patascil of The Laundry Project, volunteers, the Engagement Team, and more than 80 shocked families shared joyous three-hour experiences accompanied by the gentle swish and whirl of the washers and dryers.

2018: Strive for Less Than 5 Days Absent

The theme of the 2018-2019 Attendance Awareness Poster Contest was “Strive for Less Than Five Days Absent.” In total, 49,911 students from 82 elementary schools in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, and DeSoto counties participated in the contest.

Regional winners from the four counties received an Apple iPad and four tickets to a Major League Baseball spring training game as a gift from the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading through support from The Patterson Foundation.

2017: Inaugural Suncoast Summer Reading Challenge

In 2017, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading piloted its first Suncoast Summer Reading Challenge. Twenty-two summer providers from Sarasota and Manatee counties participated. The challenge? For children to read at least six books over the summer months. By 2018, the program jumped to 83 summer providers in the 4-county region. For every book a child read, they received a brightly colored silicone bracelet. 

2017: Reach Out and Read

More than three decades ago, two Boston Medical Center pediatricians recognized their unique opportunity to have an impact on the development and health of the children they served. They adopted a simple model of prescribing books and reading aloud as a means of fostering the language-rich interactions between parents and their young children, stimulating early brain development. 

In 2017, through a collaboration with Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Manatee Community Foundation, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, and United Way Suncoast, Reach out and Read was introduced into Sarasota and Manatee counties to help parents give their young children a foundation for success.

2017: Kindergarten Readiness Bags

SCGLR created Kindergarten Readiness Bags to provide learning support for incoming kindergarteners in the months before school begins so that children can start school ready to learn. Thanks to the generosity of Sarasota County Rotary Clubs, The Rotary Club of Sarasota Foundation, and The Patterson Foundation, 2,850 incoming kindergartners in Sarasota County received a bag. The School District of DeSoto County provided additional bags to students in DeSoto County.

2016: Mind in the Making

Thirty-four local passionaries convened at the Mind in the Making Facilitator Institute for a 3-day workshop. These community thinkers became facilitators who could model and teach the seven essential life skills. Educators, caregivers, and other community members learned how to teach these skills to the children in their lives, helping them achieve their full potential.

2015: Attendance Awareness Poster Contest

In honor of Attendance Awareness Month, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading launched the inaugural Attendance Awareness Poster Contest to promote good attendance habits and help students and parents understand why going to school every day matters.

The theme was “Every Day Counts,” and the contest was open to every school-aged child in Manatee and Sarasota counties. Prizes included four tickets to Circus Sarasota and regional winners in each grade won an Apple iPad Air. 

2015: The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading begins as a two-county initiative

Sarasota County’s Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and Manatee County’s Campaign for Grade-Level Reading came together with The Patterson Foundation to form a shared regional vision of success, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.