June 6, 2013
Caption: Mayor Greg Stanton
Mayor Greg Stanton with Councilman Daniel Valenzuela launched on Thursday Read On Phoenix, an initiative to ensure that every child in Phoenix is reading by third grade. Read On Phoenix will engage parents, businesses and the community to improve third-grade reading proficiency through school readiness, summer learning opportunities, after-school literacy and volunteerism.
The program will include Stanton’s 100,000-Book Challenge in partnership with the Diamondbacks that will encourage Phoenix kids, teens and adults to collectively read 100,000 books in June and July of this year.
“I said in my state-of-the-city address that we would rethink literacy and education to make sure every child in this city is reading by third grade, and that’s what we’re doing,” Stanton said. “It’s mission critical, the only way to build a strong future economy.”
Current data shows that if students are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade, they are more likely to continue struggling, less likely to graduate high school and will not meet the expectations of the 21st-century work force. State law also requires third-grade students to read at grade level prior to being promoted to fourth grade.
“Encouraging our children to read — and to love reading — at an early age is one of the most important things we can do as parents and as a community, because is sets the foundation for a lifetime of success,” Valenzuela said. “This comprehensive program is unique because it engages parents, caregivers, neighbors and community partners to make literacy at a young age possible for all children.”
Stanton, who has led the way on education in Phoenix by forming the Arizona Mayors’ Education Roundtable, reopening the city’s Education Office, and supporting and promoting children’s literacy, now is taking the biggest step to ensure every child in Phoenix is reading by third grade.
Read On Phoenix, with partners Valley of the Sun United Way, Read On Arizona, the Phoenix Public Library and other city departments, will collectively target literacy resources to the highest-need communities to ensure every child is reading on grade level by the end of third grade. These partners, who make up the Read On Phoenix Task Force, will engage parents, businesses and the community to improve reading with many programs such as:
- Stanton’s 100,000-book Challenge to encourage the community to collectively “get reading” by reaching the goal of 100,000 books and incorporating Dbacks ticket vouchers.
- 20,000 Library Card Drive during October to get parents and kids signed up for library cards
- Ready to Read monthly workshops for parents and caregivers to empower them with knowledge on the skills young kids to be ready to read
- Family Reading Nights to help kids and parents learn to read, sign up for library cards, familiarize them with library resources, teach parents what they can do to help children in school to read
- Reading After School to infuse existing after-school program staff with training to incorporate literacy into the program’s components and introduce family literacy at after-school programs
- Million Minute Volunteer Reading Challenge to encourage parents and caregivers to read to young children and track their minutes
- Teen Reading Volunteers to focus 400 summer teen library volunteers to implement the summer reading program, encourage reading by third grade and participation in library events
- Many more events and programs can be found at readonphoenix.phoenixpubliclibrary.org.
“Read On Arizona is excited to work with Mayor Stanton and the City of Phoenix in making early literacy a priority for the city,” said Arizona Literacy director Terri Clark. “The collaboration that Read On Phoenix is leading is critical to building a pathway for early literacy so Phoenix children have the supports and services they need to meet their potential as young readers and thrive.”
“Children must learn to read in order to read to learn,” said City Librarian Rita Hamilton. “Reading is the foundational skill on which all future success in school and life is built.”
To find out more about Read On Phoenix, go to readonphoenix.phoenixpubliclibrary.org.
Sarah Muench 602-262-7111