UWNNS' goal to increase third grade reading in our region is a bold goal. We currently work across the region with our Funded Partnerships, beginning to 'move the needle' on the goal. But we can't accomplish this goal without the active involvement of the entire community. It is only through the comprehensive and deep participation of all people and organizations who care about early literacy that we can have genuine, sustained change.
UWNNS began to convene discussions about this important topic several years ago, holding several community conversations to explore how we can join together to help children build a solid foundation in reading. Committed, initial participants included Nevada State Department of Education, Wells Fargo Bank, United Way of Northern Nevada and the Sierra, Wells Family Resource Center, the Community Foundation of Western Nevada, Washoe County Library System, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, Washoe County School District, KNPB, Northern Nevada Literacy Council, Community Chest, Sierra Nevada Journeys, and Boys and Girls Club of Truckee Meadows.
Committed participants expressed a desire to be 'at the table' for a region-wide grade level reading process, and each provided initial ideas for the type of resources they could commit. The group adopted the phrase 'Literacy is the Cure' (LITC) to capture the essence of the work and the power of the those convening to address it.
In mid-2016 UWNNS engaged DCA, a national leader on community collaboration, to facilitate development of a regional action plan carrying the vision forward. (More information on DCA is available at www.dcaboston.com.).
The LITC plan framework is based on the work of the national Grade Level Reading (GLR) Campaign - a network made up of over 300 U.S. communities. The GLR Campaign is focused on the number one predictor of school success: third grade reading. In February 2017, subcommittees formed to develop the CSAP which has four key objectives: Everyone involved in supporting children’s literacy will be trained in the program’s components; Families will be provided the support they need to be their children's first and best teachers; Children will be healthy and ready to succeed in school beginning in kindergarten; Children will return from each summer break with greater literacy skills than they had at the end of the prior year.
Over the next few months, the CSAP process will examine the important work taking place now to assist children's literacy development and where opportunities exist to create the strongest possible systems of support for young children and their families. The committed partners will continue to be involved in the process and will be invited to review what's being learned and to contribute insights on areas of strategic focus, objectives and partnership opportunities. UWNNS' goal is to complete the CSAP by September 2017.