With today, September 8, marking International Literacy Day, Calgary Reads and partners are releasing Early Warning! Calgary: The case for a Calgary chapter of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. This report serves as a backgrounder and call to action for implementing a cohesive, collaborative approach to improving third grade reading outcomes.
The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is an American initiative—spearheaded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation—that brings together foundations, educators, nonprofit partners, business leaders, government, and communities across the United States to ensure that more children in low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for postsecondary education, a career, and active citizenship. In Calgary, 13 organizations have been meeting informally to lay the groundwork for a local chapter.
The Campaign addresses one of the strongest predictors of success in school and graduation, reading achievement at the end of grade three, by providing strategic community solutions to remediate three major factors that impact third grade reading:
- School readiness
- Chronic absenteeism
- Summer learning loss
Why we must take action on grade 3 reading now:
- The beginning of grade 4 marks the point in the curriculum at which the ability to read is required to succeed in all subjects, including math.
- Failure to read well by the end of grade 3 is associated with a myriad of negative social outcomes—including high school dropout.
- Early Development Instrument (EDI) data show that fewer than half of Alberta children are developing appropriately in all five developmental areas. The data also reveal a strong correlation between readiness to learn in grade 1 and neighbourhood socio-economic status.
Early Warning! Calgary is being distributed to Calgary-and-area elected officials at all levels of government, school board trustees, school principals, early childhood development and early literacy professionals, policymakers, and nonprofits; funders, and the media. If you would like to be involved, have ideas or resources to share and connections to make, please contact Aditya Banerjee, Director of Research, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 403-777-8254.
The research is clear about the importance of third-grade reading and the evidence supports the roadmap outlined by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. We believe that we can make transformational progress in the third grade reading achievement and future quality of life of all Alberta children.
Early Warning! Why Reading By the End of Third Grade Matters (Annie E. Casey Foundation)
The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Website (www.gradelevelreading.net)
 Coalition members include: Burns Memorial Fund, Calgary Catholic School District, Calgary Public Library, Calgary Reads, The City of Calgary FCSS, Calgary Police Foundation Integrated School Support Program, CanLearn Society, the First 2000 Days Network, independent literacy champions, Mount Royal University, Rocky View Schools, United Way of Calgary and Area, and YMCA Calgary.