Turn the Page STL, St. Louis’ Chapter of the National Campaign for Grade Level Reading, is a city-county wide literacy initiative dedicated to increasing the number of children that are reading proficiently by the end of third grade. We measure the progress of our work based on our Collective Impact Strategic Plan, which outlines 5 focus areas to align and provide resources, including kindergarten readiness, summer learning, teacher preparedness, family engagement, and community awareness.
Building confident and connected readers through access to resources, quality solutions, and community trust.
Vision & Our Story
St. Louis is a community with no disparities in literacy, based on race or zip code. All children are able to read proficiently by the end of third grade, contributing to their long-term academic outcomes (eg. graduating from high school, career readiness), and personal well-being.
In September 2017, a group of early literacy organizations met in St. Louis to discuss why more than 85% of our children in our lowest performing school districts are unable to pass the third grade English Language Arts Assessment. In St. Louis, we have outstanding, impactful nonprofit organizations, but literacy rates were (and are) dropping. We researched how other cities were tackling issues of illiteracy and particularly those plaguing urban black and brown communities, and discovered the great success of the National Campaign for Grade Level Reading and its framework designed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
In January, 2020, Lisa Greening and 16 primary stakeholders, started a chapter of the National Campaign for Grade Level Reading in St. Louis, Turn the Page STL. In 2020, through a collective impact process led by UMSL's Community Innovation and Action Team, we convened hundreds of stakeholders to best understand the need, the root causes of illiteracy in St. Louis while working together to create a plan of inputs, tactics, strategies, outputs and outcomes to improve reading proficiency. Knowing that reading proficiency rates plague our entire community, Turn the Page STL is currently focusing our efforts in the Promise Zone school districts and for our black/brown children who have received a “still separate and still unequal” education.
Why Third Grade?
"Reading proficiently by the end of 3rd grade can be make-or-break benchmark in a child's educational development. Up until the end of third grade, most children are learning to read. Beginning in 4th grade, however, they are reading to learn, using their skills to gain more information in subjects such as math and science, to solve problems, to think critically about what they are learning, and to act upon and share that knowledge in the world around them." Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2010.
Literacy starts at birth. "Disparities in developmental outcomes "emerge in infancy and widen in toddlerhood. By the time children from low-income families enter kindergarten, they are typically 12-14 months below national norms in language and pre-reading skills." Council of Chief State School Officers, 2009.
On average, only 20% of third grade students attending a St. Louis Promise Zone School District, read at or above grade level reading. After this past year, there are projections for even lower literacy rates.
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