Virginia Beach READS is our city’s effort to rally the entire community around the critical issue of ensuring that all students can read on or above grade level by third grade. Achieving this critical milestone can mean the difference between a child who goes on to have a successful educational experience and one who struggles for the rest of his or her academic career. In fact, a child who does not read proficiently by third grade is four times more likely than a skilled reader to drop out of school without earning a diploma.
In today’s economy, the lack of a high school diploma drastically limits one’s career options and often condemns an individual to a life of constantly struggling to make ends meet. Society pays the price, as well. Those without a high school diploma are over 70% more likely to be unemployed, and 80% of America’s federal prison inmates are high school dropouts. The stakes couldn’t be higher. The time to intervene in this crisis is early on – before third grade.
Our collective impact has moved the percentage of children meeting PALS kindergarten readiness benchmarks from 79% to 885 and narrowed the gap for economically disadvantaged children. Our goal is ambitious – we want all children to enter kindergarten ready to learn and be reading proficiently in their early grades. We know this foundation will set them up for later school and life success!
Virginia Beach is proud to be among over 300 communities committed to promoting school readiness, ensuring on-time daily attendance, and combating the summer slide.
Virginia Beach has been recognized as a Pacesetter Honors by the National Campaign for Grade Level Reading for our efforts in School Readiness (2018) and Using Technology (2019). We are also a Pacesetter Finalist for our work with Summer Learning and After School (2019).
Virginia Beach READS is a collaborative effort representing multiple stakeholders. Each of our partners plays a critical role in moving the needle on third grade reading proficiency in Virginia Beach.
Our results speak for themselves: In 10 years, the number of Virginia Beach students lacking basic pre-reading skills upon entering kindergarten has decreased from 1 in 5 to 1 in 10.
Summer learning loss accounts for more than half of the achievement gap. The Virginia Beach Public Library and the Virginia Beach Department of Parks and Recreation co-lead Virginia Beach READS’ summer learning efforts.