SPRINGFIELD (WGGB) – The City of Springfield is taking aggressive steps to improve literacy in elementary school students and ultimately become a model for other school districts across the country. Tuesday morning at the Boland School, organizers of ‘Read! Reading Success by 4th Grade’ met with local business and education leaders to announce the launch of the Funder Collaborative. The initiative has a fund raising goal of 1.5 million dollars. It aims to get 80% of Springfield students reading at grade level by the year 2016.
Ralph Smith, the National Managing Director of the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, says similar initiatives are being put in place around the country. He says when it comes to reading proficiency, you can insist schools do better but they can’t do it alone.
“When communities mobilize to get kids ready for school, to show up to school, and have a summer gain versus a summer loss, we do all we need to go to get kids reading by the third grade.” Smith says.
Organizers say they hope to raise the full 1.5 million by next year. Currently, reading proficiency is under 40 percent for Springfield 3rd graders.