The award-winning Reading Success by 4th Grade initiative is moving to a brand new and very appropriate home, the Springfield City Library.
Reading Success by 4th Grade is a nationally recognized, community-wide effort to ensure that all the children living in Springfield, Mass., can read proficiently by the end of third grade.
Launched in 2009, the program was run by Sally Fuller, and its home was the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation.
Now that Fuller has retired, Davis foundation officials want the initiative to have a home in the community.
Among the initiative’s guiding principles:
• the best interventions begin before kindergarten;
• parents and caregivers are their children’s first and most important teachers, and
• both home and educational environments must support children’s early literacy skills
The initiative has had notable success. It “was recognized at the national Grade-Level Reading Week conference in Denver in 2017 for initiating citywide strategies that raised the level of third-grade reading proficiency from 33 percent to 44 percent,” MassLive reports.
“The city library was a key participant in the literacy initiative from the beginning and helped conceive a campaign that encourages parents to spend at least 20 minutes a day reading to their children,” WAMC Radio reports.
Now, even though the program is moving, the foundation and the library will maintain their relationship.
“The foundation will continue its commitment to the grade-level reading proficiency of Springfield’s third graders and the community’s work that begins with a child’s birth,” Mary E. Walachy, the Davis Foundation’s executive director, said in a statement. “We will continue to make an investment in Reading Success by 4th Grade through the City Library and believe this is the most appropriate organization to take on the work and expand community ownership.”
“The foundation has made a three-year, $600,000 commitment to the city’s public library system to continue the work of improving children’s reading skills,” WAMC adds.
Jean Canosa Albano, Springfield City Library’s assistant director for public services, adds:
“We certainly believe in the mission of the initiative to provide better opportunities for families and children and that is in strong alignment with what we do here, offering families a broader view through civic engagement, further education, workforce development and our focus area which is early literacy.”
Having a new home also creates an opportunity to consider new approaches.
Fuller tells WAMC Radio that the library “can look at what we’ve done and see what works and what doesn’t.” She adds, “It is a great time to step back and look at all the things we’ve pulled together and decide what is the best bang for our buck in this community.”
The new home and the new look at how things are going should help ensure that children have everything they need to achieve engaging and powerful reading success.