Gaston County Joins Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

Gastonia, North Carolina. March 2, 2016 – Gaston County community leaders are coming together to improve student success by joining the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR), a nationwide movement to increase early reading proficiency.

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a shared effort by funders, nonprofit partners, business leaders, government agencies, states and communities across the nation to ensure that many more children succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career and active citizenship. Since its launch in 2010, the Campaign has grown to more than 200 communities. In North Carolina, the Campaign is led by the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation (NCECF).

Only 38 percent of North Carolina fourth graders and 25 percent of students from economically disadvantaged families scored at or above reading proficiency on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in 2015. Reading in the early grades predicts high school and later success. Those who read well, go on to graduate, but those who aren’t reading well by the end of third grade, are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

“We are thrilled to join the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading,” said Laurel Morris, Gaston County Library Director, who is leading the Gaston County Early Literacy Collaborative. “By working across the county with a common goal and the tools and support provided by the Campaign, grade-Level reading is achievable in our community.”

The Campaign addresses three underlying challenges that can keep young children, especially those from low-income families, from learning to read proficiently:

  • School readiness — too many children are entering kindergarten already behind
  • School attendance — too many young children are missing too many days of school
  • Summer learning — too many children are losing ground academically over the summer

The Gaston County Early Literacy Collaborative will address these challenges with a focus on school readiness and summer learning loss. In 2015, only 25% of kindergarteners in Gaston County were considered proficient in school readiness skills.

The collaborative consists of the following organizations:

  • The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Gaston
  • The Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services
  • The Gaston County Family YMCA
  • The Gaston County Public Library
  • Gaston County Public Schools
  • The Gaston Faith Network
  • The Gaston Literacy Council, Inc.
  • The Partnership for Children of Lincoln and Gaston Counties
  • The United Way of Gaston County

There are three other campaigns in North Carolina – Wake Up and Read (Wake County), Read Charlotte (Mecklenburg County) and the Moore County Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. Wake Up and Read was recognized by the national campaign as a 2014 Pacesetter for making measurable progress in improving third-grade reading proficiency through a focus on student readiness.