Policymakers and educators of all stripes will be donning their Cat-in-the-Hat hats on March 1, 2013and reading to young children to celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday. Our commitment to early literacy must run deeper than a single day's celebration.
Across the country, two-thirds of our students aren't reading proficiently by the end of third grade, a critical milestone that affects how they fare in school and whether they eventually graduate.
That's why leaders in Oakland have made a remarkable commitment to a new citywide literacy program, Oakland Reads 2020, and are coming together behind a single goal: 85% of Oakland 3rd graders reading at grade level by the year 2020.
Third grade marks the point when children transition from learning to read to reading to learn. We know when children do not master reading by that point, they get left behind as the curriculum speeds forward with more complex assignments. Many eventually drop out of high school and fail to find success in the job market. Improving early reading can help us close achievement gaps, increase graduation rates, support our local economy and build a strong community.
Everyone can help. You can start by donning your own striped hat and participating in the many Read Across America Day activities celebrating Dr. Seuss's birthday.Check with your local library for specific activities and schedules or, consider volunteering.
Volunteers are needed for all K-2 classrooms (through 5th grade if they get enough volunteers!) at Brookfield, New Highland, Reach and Rise elementary schools. Bilingual Spanish reading is helpful for special class matches, too. For more info or to volunteer, please email Jo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are many other ways to supportchildren'sliteracy development in Oakland. You can tutor a struggling reader, volunteer in your local elementary school, or even just reach out to families in your neighborhood who need an extra hand. Or, get involved with the Oakland Reads 2020 campaign. For more information, visit http://oaklandliteracycoalition.org.