National League of Cities Joins Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

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The National League of Cities (NLC) is joining a national effort to increase the number of low-income children who read at grade level by the end of the third grade.

Called  the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, the effort is based on findings of an Annie E. Casey Foundation study that showed reading ability at the third grade level is an early indicator of whether a student will graduate from high school on time.

Eighty percent of students from low-income families do not read proficiently by the end of the third grade.

In 2012, the National League of Cities will take part in the National Civic League’s 2010 All-America City Awards that recognize the outstanding civic accomplishments in cities and towns. This year’s challenge is specifically geared towards grade-level reading.

For the competition, cities must focus on three major obstacles to reading proficiency: lack of school readiness in younger children, chronic absenteeism and summer learning loss, when students, particularly those who are low-income lose ground academically between school years.

The NLC is also advising the development of the All-America City Grade-Level Reading Award Program, which encourages cites to participate in the competition and provides assistance in the various cities attempting to create their own local plans. The United Way and the National  Conference of Mayors are also assisting with the program.

To apply for the All-America City Grade-Level Reading Award, cities must submit a letter of intent to the National Civic League by Oct. 14, 2011, with official applications due on March 12, 2012. Finalists will send a delegation to the NCL annual conference in June 2012 for the final round of competition.

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