READ to SUCCEED: Volunteers helping children read proficiently

In recognition of its 100th year, United Way of Central Iowa is launching READ to SUCCEED, its first-ever grassroots public awareness campaign to engage the entire community and call individuals to take action to ensure students read proficiently by the end of third grade. 

Today nearly 25 percent of third grade students in Polk, Dallas and Warren counties do not read proficiently. READ to SUCCEED has set a goal so that, by the year 2020, 90 percent of central Iowa students are reading proficiently by the end of third grade.

READ to SUCCEED will get everyone involved in reading to children and shine a bright light on the importance of reading. It will include grassroots advocacy, volunteer opportunities to read to and mentor children, a public service campaign, and a resource toolkit for parents and caregivers, volunteers, advocates and organizations.

Third grade reading proficiency is the most important predictor of high school graduation and later life and career success. Children who read proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely to graduate from high school.

From kindergarten through third grade, students are learning to read. But after third grade, students use reading skills to learn. By fourth grade, teachers expect students to apply the skills taught in the earlier grades to new and challenging information. Those students who are not able to read proficiently miss out on key learning opportunities.

READ to SUCCEED will build on years of research and best practices for improving pre-literacy and early grade reading skills. We have a great opportunity to close the reading gap by focusing on four key areas: school readiness, parent and caregiver engagement, summer learning loss, and quality out-of-school programs.

READ to SUCCEED has been carefully selected as a community campaign to inspire action toward an important issue that will pay dividends for the next 100 years, with an impact that will ripple through our community for generations to come.

Learn More About  READ to SUCCEED

TAGS: Education, Volunteer, UWCI History

Mary Sellers

About The Author: Mary Sellers

Mary Sellers is the President of United Way of Central Iowa. As the organization’s chief executive she leads United Way’s strategies to achieve substantive community impact in the priority areas of education, income and health to improve lives and build a stronger central Iowa. She joined United Way in February 2012 with a 20-year track record of leadership and success in nonprofit and community organizations.