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Star City Reads: The City of Roanoke Grade Level Reading Campaign

3rd Grade Reading Success Matters and We Need to Take Action!

Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a 10-year effort by foundations to move the needle on third grade reading proficiency and address the developmental and academic targets that children need to reach to be successful. The work will promote policies that lead to better coordination and alignment of services, improve instruction and evaluation, and tackle obstacles to achievement, such as chronic absence and summer learning loss. The campaign aims to make grade-level reading proficiency for all children by the end of third grade a national priority.

“Star City Reads”

As part of this nationwide campaign, stakeholders within the Roanoke Valley came together to develop the “Star City Reads” initiative, a community-wide plan to ensure that more Roanoke children are reading at grade level by the end of third grade. “Star City Reads” focuses on strategies in three areas that have real potential to drive improvements in grade-level reading: school readiness, school attendance, and summer learning. Partners in the plan include the City of Roanoke, Roanoke City Public Schools, United Way of Roanoke Valley, Smart Beginnings of Greater Roanoke, Total Action against Poverty, Roanoke Public Libraries, Blue Ridge Literacy, and Dr. Craig Ramey and Dr. Sharon Ramey from the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute. 

All America City Award

In July 2012, the “Star City Reads” initiative won the 2012 All-America City Award, which recognizes communities that have developed the most comprehensive, realistic and sustainable plans to increase grade-level reading proficiency by the end of third grade.

Click on the links below to take a look at the City of Roanoke's award winning campaign plan!

View the All-America City Awards photo gallery

Coverage of the City of Roanoke's AAC win appearing in The Roanoke Times, WSLS Channel10 and WDBJ7.


A Nationwide Effort Going Forward

With strong leadership from the City of Roanoke and Roanoke City Public Schools, the City of Roanoke joined more than 100 communities across the nation who submitted Grade Level Reading action plans as part of this growing national movement. The cities and counties, representing more than half the states and millions of school children, are addressing what is clearly a national crisis: A full two thirds of U.S. students fail to become proficient readers in the early grades, and schools cannot fix this without community support.

United Way of Roanoke Valley (UWRV), through its focus on Education, is committed to advancing the common good by seeing more young children arrive in kindergarten ready to learn and help our students succeed in school!  UWRV is a proud partner and supporter in the development and implementation of the City of Roanoke's “Star City Reads” Campaign to promote grade level reading. The “Star City Reads” initiative is currently in the planning and implementation process. Please check back regularly for updates on how you can get involved.


Why 3rd grade reading is so important?

Watch the video below to find out why kids that can are on level by the end of third grade hold the keys to success.


The Campaign is mobilizing national partners like the Sesame Workshop to promote grade level reading at an early age! Check out this new PSA featuring Elmo and his human friend, Gordon on the importance of reading, talking and playing with young children as a way to be prepared for school.  


Learn more about the Campaign for Grade Level Reading and how you can give, advocate and volunteer to give children and youth in the Roanoke Valley the building blocks they need to succeed in school and in life. Check out Tools and Tips for Reading to Children, for some great ideas on how you can start making an impact on a child's life!