We are excited to share that our work as the Baltimore Campaign for Grade Level Reading (GLR) is moving forward in a new direction. Launched in 2013 with the goal of increasing the number of low-income students reading on grade level in City Schools by 2020, GLR was designed as a collective action coalition drawing from leadership across sectors and communities to help move the needle on literacy for Baltimore City Public School students.
After much discussion and reflection, we made the decision to conclude our work as the Baltimore Campaign for Grade Level Reading (GLR) and, based on all we learned through our efforts, are expanding and reimagining our work to focus on family engagement for all grade bands and academic areas. We will build on all that we learned to focus on family engagement as an academic strategy; an area of work that is ripe for developing given the pandemic’s spotlight on the role of family engagement, with parents and families serving as partners in supporting their child’s learning. This new chapter does not mean that we have closed the door to making sure that all students in Baltimore are reading on grade level, but our commitment and direction is broadening. This programmatic expansion is a natural transition to our GLR efforts and presents the opportunity to broaden the scope of work to support more City Schools students and their families.
Over the past seven years GLR:
- Increased access to books for families by creating literacy rich environments. We distributed over 85,000 books to children and families throughout the city via Little Free Libraries and other distribution initiatives
- Distributed over 5,000 daily reading materials to encourage good reading habits
- Partnered with the Enoch Pratt to promote and reward summer reading
- Collaborated with partners to increase attendance for students in grades PreK-3
- Partnered with 6 elementary schools to build home libraries for their first graders and facilitated field trips to their local Enoch Pratt library to help foster a relationship with their local librarian and branch
- Launched campaigns to increase PreK enrollment
- Created and promoted a literacy night toolkit for City Schools
- Heard from hundreds of families what they experience and what they need for their child’s literacy achievement
- Created and shared literacy videos that covered tips for reading with your child and how-to understanding literacy assessments
- Piloted a parent ambassador program to improve relationships, trust, an information sharing between teachers and families
- Brought together City Schools and Enoch Pratt librarians for joint professional development to develop collaborative relationships and shared goals in schools and branches.
We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to our funders: The Annie E. Casey Foundation, T. Rowe Price Foundation, and Hirschhorn Foundation. In addition, this work could not have been paved without the tremendous work of the GLR Steering Committee, GLR Advisory Committee, GLR Coalition, Little Free Library leaders, teachers, families, and countless partners that reached out and rolled their sleeves up to do this important work. We thank you for your collaboration, thought partnership, and support as we worked to tackle our city’s literacy crises. We are proud of all GLR has accomplished and intend to keep the GLR coalition and partners close to this evolving work. We are excited for what the future holds. Stay tuned for what’s next!