WITH MORE than half of its third-graders behind in reading skills, Philadelphia has signed on to take part in a national campaign to boost literacy in the early grades.
Mayor Nutter and Superintendent William Hite made the announcement yesterday, joining 140 other cities and communities around the country that participate in the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. The campaign's goal is to double the number of students reading at grade level by the end of third grade - a key indicator of future success - by 2020.
Thanks to an $87,000 grant from the Barra Foundation, the organization Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) and the Urban Affairs Coalition will spend the next six months working with several agencies and community groups to form an action plan to address the issue. They said some of the barriers to students reading at grade level are absenteeism and summer "brain drain."