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January 29, 2018

Read Charlotte to Launch “Commit to 80” Campaign

Charlotte, N.C.(January 29, 2018) – Read Charlotte announced its inaugural “Commit to 80” campaign, a mission which aims not only to raise awareness of the critical importance of children’s literacy, but to also activate everyone in Mecklenburg County to commit to do their part to reach the community goal of 80% of third graders reading proficiently by 2025. The community is being asked to pledge commitment in March and ultimately get involved throughout the year.

Only 39% of Charlotte’s third graders are reading at grade level.

“Read Charlotte was launched in 2015 as a community-wide effort to change this alarming statistic,” explained Executive Director Munro Richardson. “Third grade is the critical dividing line between learning to read and reading to learn. We spent the first two years digging into the research and finding what works to move the needle for kids from birth through third grade. In 2017, we began implementing what works to improve early literacy, working alongside dozens of committed community partners to move toward this goal of doubling the number of Charlotte-Mecklenburg third graders reading proficiently. The early momentum is encouraging but it will take an army of dedicated people “committing to 80” with us. Everyone has a part to play. We know that working together, we can do this.”

Reading proficiency at third grade is critical for school, career and life success. Children struggling with reading in third grade are four times more likely to end up dropping out of high school, as this is the pivotal moment in a child’s education when they have to shift from learning to read to reading to learn.

The “Commit to 80” campaign will target families and caregivers at home and in child care programs (primarily with 0-5 year olds), volunteers in schools, professionals at work, as well as various community and faith-based groups, all in an effort to educate and increase engagement around what works to improve early language and literacy.

Even at this early stage in Read Charlotte’s work, nearly 100 local companies and organizations have been at the table and committed by supporting and/or integrating evidence-based practices at every turn.

“At the root of it, this work is part of a strong commitment to systems change,” says Richardson. “This means improving and realigning programs, policies, and practices so that more children move down the reading success pathway.”

“Commit to 80” officially opens to the public via the organization’s website March 7-21, 2018. At that time, people are invited to sign the commitment form and choose one or more ways to get involved throughout the year. Visit CommitTo80.org to participate. Participants may also pledge commitment by calling 980-819-1431.

For additional information about Read Charlotte’s work and how to help spread the word, facilitate more partnerships and empower more families, visit ReadCharlotte.org.

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