The national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading has honored the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading as a Bright Spot community in 2021. The regional campaign was recognized for its innovative “THIS BOOK IS COOL!” virtual reading web series that helped children from asset-limited families continue their progress toward third-grade reading proficiency last summer during the pandemic.
The national campaign recognized 54 communities as Bright Spots this year for developing exemplary or innovative grade-level reading efforts during the COVID crisis, especially those that can be replicated in other communities and sustained during the post-COVID period. The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading created “THIS BOOK IS COOL!” to encourage children to develop a love of reading through interactive webisodes focused on books for students in grades Pre-K through third grade. These engaging videos featured surprise guests, word banks, and fun activities for students to engage in safely at home throughout the summer and beyond.
“We are so honored to be recognized as a Bright Spot community,” said Beth Duda, director of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading for The Patterson Foundation. “I’m grateful for The Patterson Foundation’s support, the enthusiasm and skill of all our Engagement Team members, and the commitment of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s partners for coming together during an unprecedented time to start ‘THIS BOOK IS COOL!’ and ensure children, particularly from asset-limited families, are able to stay engaged and continue learning.”
In addition, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading provided 20 free books featured in the webisodes to qualifying students as a gift from The Patterson Foundation. Last year, more than 1,000 children across the Suncoast region qualified to receive free books through “THIS BOOK IS COOL!” By the end of the summer, more than 5,300 children participated and read nearly 100,000 books.
The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is part of the nationwide Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, which guides early childhood literacy efforts in more than 350 communities throughout 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and two provinces in Canada. The Suncoast Campaign is a collaborative effort formed by individuals, businesses, nonprofits, the government, and media to change the trajectory for our region’s most vulnerable families by working within five solution areas proven to ensure early school success: school readiness, attendance, summer learning, family engagement, and health determinants. The Patterson Foundation is the lead funder for the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, a communitywide effort in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties.
The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading has consistently received recognition for its work, including multiple Pacesetter Honors, one of the highest awards presented by the GLR Campaign, and the prestigious All-America City Award.
“THIS BOOK IS COOL!” is back again for the second straight year, and registration is already underway. To learn more about eligibility and enrollment, please visit gradelevelreadingsuncoast.net/project/this-book-is-cool. For more information on the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, visit gradelevelreading.net and follow the movement on social media using #GLReading.