The response has been overwhelming. We've gotten more than 150 letters of intent to participate in the 2012 All-America City Grade Level Reading Award. The list includes big cities large and small (L.A., NYC, Chicago, Baltimore, Atlanta, San Francisco, Houston, Seattle) and counties and multi-county areas from 36 states. Two U.S. Territories and D.C. are represented. You can read a press release from the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading here.
Our goal was to get 50 to 55 communities to sign up. This level of interest has more than surpassed expectations, which suggests that grade-level reading may be an issue whose time has come. We've been working with the National League of Cities and United Way Worldwide, among other groups, to generate interest in this award. It will be given to communities (counties, regions, whatever) that develop the most comprehensive, realistic and sustainable plans for addressing three issues: school readiness, school attendance and summer learning.
A pact between the National Civic League and the foundation-led Campaign for Grade-Level Reading allows these communities to join the Campaign’s network, which will provide assistance throughout the application process and help cities develop community-wide plans for improving reading achievement by the end of third grade. These localities will also be on the radar screen for the Campaign’s 80 foundations and philanthropic donors, who fund early childhood and early learning and literacy projects.
The event will be held June 30-July 2 in Denver, Colorado. We are really looking forward to it.