The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR) recently announced its Pacesetter Honors and Kansas City made the list! Pacesetters are communities who are leading by example to solve challenges that can undermine early literacy; including school readiness, school attendance, and summer learning. Pacesetter communities are part of a national network of over 300 cities, representing 42 states. This is the fourth year in a row The Campaign recognized Kansas City for our progress towards achieving 3rd grade reading proficiency for all students.
Through applying for the All-America City Award in 2011, Turn the Page KC emerged as a vehicle for discussion on how to increase the number of students reading at grade level in Kansas City, Missouri. Mayor James recognized the importance of 3rd grade reading early on in his first term and launched Turn the Page KC as one of his top economic priorities. Since the beginning, Turn the Page KC has served as a facilitator, convening the most important stakeholders in early childhood and elementary education around the urgent challenges our kids face. Our goal is to build consensus and align priorities so that our community can strategically impact the birth to third grade pipeline and beyond.
Since Turn the Page KC’s inception in 2011, the number of 3rd graders reading at grade level has grown from 33% to just over 50%. In 2012, the percentage of chronically absent K-3 students attending Title I schools decreased from 15% in 2012–13 to 12% in 2015–16. Over the past five years, summer programs have enrolled more than six times the number of students in its academic enrichment programs and significantly increased their reading scores.
CGLR communities are dedicated to narrowing the achievement gap between children from low-income families and their more affluent peers. Reading proficiency by the end of third-grade is a milestone on a child’s path to high school graduation and career success because it marks the transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” Students who have not mastered reading by that time are more likely to drop out of high school and struggle throughout their lives.