The first step in a child’s education is teaching them to read — once they learn to read, they read to learn from that point forward.
Reading at grade level by the end of third grade is a key measure of a child’s academic success, and a strong predictor of high school graduation. And starting this school year, third-graders who are reading far below grade level will not be allowed to move on to fourth grade — which could impact as many as 3,300 students statewide.
Valley of the Sun United Way wants to help. We’ve partnered with United Ways across Arizona as well as local foundations, municipalities, the state department of education and non-profits to launch start Read On Arizona to improve literacy for children.
Through the program — locally known as Read On Greater Phoenix — we’ve hosted literacy fairs at the Balsz Elementary School and Riverside Elementary School Districts in Phoenix to arm parents and caregivers with reading tips, books and resources to improve school readiness and to strengthen literacy at home.
On Our Way
And the results have been powerful.
- For example, recently hundreds of members of our Women’s Leadership Council collected more than 9,000 donated books to support literacy at home — which equates to five books per student at each of the fairs.
- More than 1,000 parents and students were connected to literacy programs and resources at five Read On Greater Phoenix literacy fairs.
- And more students and families each day are being connected with the resources they need to read more effectively, improve school readiness, reduce chronic absenteeism and summer learning loss to set children up for success and beyond.
We all have a stake in improving literacy for our youngest community members. Here’s how you can help.
- GIVE: Your donation directly to United Way provides children resources to succeed in school.
- VOLUNTEER: Help us promote and improve young children's reading skills.
- ADVOCATE: Share our tips and resources with your friends, family and colleagues.
Working together, we can give children in Maricopa County the tools they need to learn effectively for the rest of their lives.