The Challenge

30% of Sarasota third graders are reading below grade level.

Reading proficiency by third grade is a crucial predictor of high school graduation and career success; yet, 30% of Sarasota County’s third graders are reading below grade level – most of whom come from vulnerable families. At Sarasota’s twelve Title 1 elementary schools, 50% of third grade students are reading below grade level.

While these statistics expose pressing issues impacting our community, these challenges, if left unaddressed, impede progress being made towards breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty, reducing the achievement gap between students, and reducing high school dropout rates across our communities.

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading arose as a call to action to reverse these trends and mobilize communities at the federal, state, and local levels to expand opportunities and remove barriers that impact a child’s ability to realize their full potential. The Campaign recognizes that effective collaboration among individuals, nonprofits, government agencies, and local foundations is critical for achieving and sustaining gains in grade-level reading proficiency.

Effective collaboration is critical for achieving and sustaining gains in grade-level reading proficiency.

The Approach to a Solution

Grade-Level Reading Partners

Communities committed to the goal of helping students achieve reading proficiency by third grade focus their efforts within one or more of the five solution areas: School Readiness, Attendance, Summer Learning, Family Engagement, and Health Determinants.

Each community partner contributes their knowledge, expertise, and resources in one or more of the five key solution areas empowering students to a greater likelihood of success. 

Our Role in the Approach to a Solution

The Community Foundation has been collaborating, connecting, and convening as the Sarasota County lead for Grade-Level Reading since 2014. 

Beginning in 2014, when our Community Solutions Action Plan for Sarasota was accepted into the National Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County established a robust collaborative of community partners to empower children and their families toward success. As the Sarasota lead for grade level reading, we are committed to empowering our community partners through collaboration, connecting, and convening.

The Community Foundation concentrates our grade level reading work within an attendance zone of four Title 1 elementary schools in North Sarasota whose students have the most need and the most to gain through our concentrated efforts. We work closely with the principals, teachers, and support staff at Alta Vista, Emma E. Booker, Gocio, and Tuttle.

Our grade level reading work is focused on three specific solutions areas: School Readiness, Summer Learning, and Parent Success. This laser-focus approach has yielded significant impact for students by closing achievement gaps and increasing the chances of reading success.     

Focusing our grade-level reading efforts on four Title 1 elementary schools and three of the solution areas increases the chances of students achieving grade-level success.  

Two-Generation Approach

Parents and caregivers are the “secret sauce” to their children’s success. 

Our grade level reading work incorporates a two-generation approach, working with both children and their families who are facing a variety of barriers to ensure they have the necessary support and encouragement to be successful.

Research indicates that increasing a family’s income, helping them broaden their community support network, and strengthening their role as their child’s first teacher greatly improves the chances that children will be academically successful. 

Our Grade-Level Reading Solution Areas

Girl beginning to write

Summer Learning 

Discover how our commitment to supporting summer learning opportunities is mitigating the summer slide and closing the achievement gap.

 

School Readiness

School Readiness

We are committed to supporting programs that prepare children for success in kindergarten.

 

2Gen Parent Success Program

Parent Success Program

We adhere to the belief that a child’s success is increased with a two-generation (2Gen) approach that support the whole family.

 

grant opportunities for nonprofits

Grant Opportunities

Through intentional grantmaking, we are committed to boosting the work of our community partners committed to grade-level reading work that aligns with our key solution areas of School Readiness, Summer Learning, and Parent Success.

Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR)

In April 2015, a collection of local foundations including The Patterson Foundation, nonprofit partners, and government agencies throughout Sarasota and Manatee County came together to form a shared regional vision, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

As one of more than 390 campaigns nationwide, our region’s four-county effort strives to change the trajectory for our region’s most vulnerable families through five solution areas proven to ensure early childhood success:

  • School Readiness
  • Attendance
  • Summer Learning
  • Family Engagement
  • Health Determinants

Learn more about the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. 

Stories of Impact

Milestones 

Our four-county region has been recognized locally and nationally for its collective achievements in summer learning, mental health, and parent education. Notable milestones include:

 

2014

Beginning in 2014, Community Foundation of Sarasota County established a robust collaborative of community partners to empower children and their families toward success. 

2015 

Community Foundation of Sarasota County named a Pacesetter Community.

2016

Community Foundation of Sarasota County named a Pacesetter Community.

2017

Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading honored with an All-America Cities Award and three Communications Expo Awards.

2018

Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading was named a Pacesetter Community.

2019

Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading named a Pacesetter Community.

2020

Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading received multiple Pacesetter Honors and was one of only 21 communities recognized for its work in the areas of "Mobilizing Success" and "Deploying Innovative Strategies and Tools."

Donate

For more information on ways to donate, contact us at 941-955-3000 or donorservices@cfsarasota.org.

Is your organization doing work to support grade-level reading proficiency or are you interested in learning more?

Get Involved

Nicole Light

Education Officer

941-556-7102

nlight@cfsarasota.org