Richmond Selected as 2013 Pacesetter for Community Effort to Promote Early Reading

~National honor recognizes collaborative campaign to ensure more low-income students
are reading on grade level by the end of third grade~
The City of Richmond’s campaign to improve reading proficiency among its youngest students has been recognized as a 2013 Community Pacesetter by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading   (GLR), an honor that reflects the energy, mobilization and creativity that the local community has brought to this important work.

“I am extremely pleased to learn that Richmond has been named a 2013 Pacesetter Community by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. Collaboration is critical in addressing educational issues, and the range of partners involved in developing Richmond’s youth shows our community’s commitment to selfless sharing as we strive to achieve our grade level reading goals,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “Engaging youth, strengthening families and transforming communities is paramount in building a stronger future for our great city.”

Richmond launched its Grade Level Reading initiative in the summer of 2012, making it one of 140 communities   working with the GLR Campaign, a nationwide movement of local leaders, states, nonprofits and foundations putting a stake in the ground on third-grade reading. The communities are adopting a collective impact strategy, engaging the full community around the goal of supporting low-income children from birth through third grade.

Acknowledging that schools alone cannot address all the challenges that keep children from learning to read, the City Administration works with nonprofits and other partners to help ensure that children arrive at kindergarten ready to succeed, attend school regularly and keep learning through the summer months. Key accomplishments within the city include, the City’s Department of Justice Services partnership with Richmond Public Schools for a new three-year focus of improving school attendance during Attendance Awareness Month; a project to improve children’s transition from child care or home care into kindergarten that the City Administration is implementing with Richmond Promise Neighborhood and the City’s Quality Child Care focus; and the Richmond Public Library’s summer project with YMCA and the Friends Association to test summer learning interventions.

“We are impressed and inspired by what Richmond has accomplished so far,” said Ralph Smith, managing director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and a senior vice president at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. “ With its commitment, resourcefulness and collaborative spirit, Richmond’s focus on children reading on grade level by grade three truly is setting the pace and providing a model for communities across the nation who are seeking to give more children from low-income families a chance at a brighter future."

The City of Richmond is one of 35 Pacesetters named for 2013. Richmond was previously named a Finalist in the 2012 All-America City competition for its collaborative plans to focus on reading improvement for children.

Launched in May 2010, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a collaborative effort of funders, nonprofit partners, states and communities across the nation to ensure that many more children from low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career and active citizenship. It focuses on reading proficiency by the end of third grade, a key predictor of high school graduation and a milestone missed by fully 80 percent of low-income children. For media inquiries, contact Phyllis Jordan at or (301) 656-0348.