Wells Fargo is investing in early literacy through a grant to the NC Early Childhood Foundation (NCECF). With its $10,000 award, Wells Fargo will support NCECF’s work to advance policies and practices that put children on a pathway to third grade reading proficiency. The Campaign is a collaborative effort by foundations, nonprofit partners, business leaders, government agencies, states and communities across the nation to ensure that more children from low-income families succeed in school, graduate prepared for college, a career and life success.
NCECF will support North Carolina’s existing local campaigns to improve third-grade reading outcomes and work with new communities to join the effort. It will convene state leaders to develop a coordinated strategy based on research, data and identified best practices to define, fund and implement policies to ensure that North Carolina’s children are reading proficiently by the end of third grade.
“Wells Fargo recognizes the importance of literacy to a child’s development and believes strong reading skills empower them to reach their full potential,” said Carrie Gray, community affairs officer at Wells Fargo. “We are honored to work together with organizations like NCECF to create solutions that help close the academic achievement gap for low-income students.”
Only 35 percent of North Carolina fourth graders and 22 percent of students from economically disadvantaged families scored at or above reading proficiency on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in 2013. (Economically disadvantaged is defined as children eligible for the National School Lunch Program.)
“The ability to read is essential to a child’s success in life,” said Tracy Zimmerman, NCECF Executive Director. “Fortunately, grade-level reading is achievable with policies and practices that reflect that reading is a cumulative process that develops from birth and is rooted in early brain development. To be successful readers by third grade children need good health, strong families and high quality early learning experiences that build social-emotional and cognitive development. We are grateful to Wells Fargo and their commitment to North Carolina.”