Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

The National Civic League will award its  2012 All-America City Awards  to communities that develop “the most comprehensive, realistic and sustainable plans to increase grade-level reading proficiency by the end of third grade.” The annual award, which was introduced in 1949, is given to ten communities.

The league is aligning the award with the goals of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, which has brought together more than 70 funders to target their giving to help ensure that children are proficient readers by the end of third grade.”

The National League of Cities has pledged to work to encourage civic leaders to compete for the award, and the United Way Worldwide and the U.S. Conference of Mayors will also serve as partners, the campaign says on its website. It lists Springfield, Sacramento and New Britain, CT, as examples of cities that have launched reading proficiency campaigns.

“City leaders are uniquely positioned to tackle these issues,” the campaign website notes, “by rallying community support and targeting scarce resources more effectively to make sure children, from birth to age 8, grow up healthy, start school ready to succeed and read on grade level by the end of third grade.”

Communities interested in being considered for the award must submit a letter of intent by October 14.