Ralph Smith at CGI America.  Photo Source: Campaign for Grade-Level Reading's Twitter page.
Ralph Smith at CGI America.
Photo Source: Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s Twitter page.

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR) made news last week at the annual Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) meeting.

CGLR was featured on stage at CGI America in acknowledgement of its plans to “launch the More Hopeful Futures Initiative in 2017… the next phase of a decade-long effort to increase reading proficiency among children from low-income families,” according to a news release.

CGLR has bold plans for boosting children’s reading abilities.

“Over the next three years, the planned pre-launch activities will reach at least 50,000 children with an enhanced package of screenings and supports designed to accelerate ongoing efforts to improve school readiness, school attendance, and summer learning.”

CGLR is “committing $30 million, in tandem with close to 40 partners, to help increase third grade reading proficiency for 50,000 children by 2018,” a CGI America press release adds.

How CGI America and the Grade-Level Reading Campaign are Working Together

Sponsored by the Clinton Foundation, which was founded by former President Bill Clinton, “CGI America brings together leaders from the business, philanthropic, NGO, and government sectors to develop solutions for economic growth, long-term competitiveness, and social mobility in the United States.”

“The core of the CGI America meeting is the Working Group model, which consists of ten topic-specific groups—each bringing together about 60-120 diverse industry leaders.”

Among these topics is Education and Skills Development. And this is where the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading comes in.

As part of the “More Hopeful Futures Initiative,” CGLR will use “a multimedia campaign to share tools and information with parents and others caring for children, and then develop targeted community action plans to improve literacy, health, and development outcomes across 32 communities” in five states — Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, and New York.

“We see this recognition by CGI America as an affirmation of the great work already underway in these local communities. The plans and aspirations embodied in today’s commitment build upon what these communities already have accomplished and anticipate the important work they will continue to do,” Ralph Smith, managing director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, said in a statement.

He adds: “Our work going forward, including More Hopeful Futures, draws heavily on the experience, lessons, and insights of the civic leaders and public officials who have mobilized their communities and the state and local funders who have supported the work.”

Other CGI America, education projects include “Wash Time is Talk Time: Early Literacy Promotion in Laundromats.” This project’s sponsors — the Coin Laundry Association and the nonprofit advocacy organization Too Small to Fail — “are committing to help nearly 800 parents engage in talk time with their children, at 5,000 laundromats in underserved communities across the country. With the average visit taking around two hours, laundry time offers a valuable, yet often overlooked opportunity for parents to engage in language-rich activities with their children.”

Overall, the CGI America meeting produced “79 new Commitments to Action that, when fully funded and implemented, will positively impact the lives of more than 1.6 million people in the United States.”

In closing the meeting, President Clinton said, “These past two days have reinforced for me, more than ever, that when you strip away all the little things that divide us, you can see just how tied together we all are. And, most importantly, you have done so with a bias for action and a relentless focus on the future. Because of your efforts, more than 1.6 million people will be better off.”

We look forward to seeing how new partnerships and programs will build on the country’s commitment to helping children grow up to become great readers.