Our Campaign

Virginia Beach READS is a collaborative effort representing multiple stakeholders. Each partner plays a critical role in moving the needle on school readiness and third grade reading proficiency in Virginia Beach.

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Our Campaign

In 2012, Virginia Beach and over 100 other communities around the United States joined the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Network. Today, more than 300 cities, counties, and towns belong to the network. By focusing on school readiness, reducing chronic absence, and preventing summer learning loss, local campaigns are dedicated to improving the reading proficiency of young children by third grade. This benchmark is the single best predictor of on-time high school graduation.

Membership in the national network connects Virginia Beach with other community coalitions, enabling us to exchange ideas, share resources, and collaboratively tackle tough problems. The Campaign also offers its member communities technical assistance to implement actions plans, as well as exclusive access to partnership and funding opportunities.

Our coalition is led by Virginia Beach GrowSmart and partners include Virginia Beach City Public Schools, the Virginia Beach Public Library, Department of Parks and Recreation, the VB Office of Volunteer Resources; the non-profit organization Square One; Mile High Kids Community Development, GrowSmart Foundation and United Way South Hampton Roads.

As a member of the National Campaign for Grade Level Reading, Virginia Beach READS focuses on three pillars of success proven to directly impact reading proficiency. By emphasizing the importance of kindergarten readiness, summer learning and reading proficiency Virginia Beach READS is committed to moving the needle on school readiness and third grade reading. Our work has been recognized with Pacesetter Honors our for population-wide progress demonstrated in the areas of school readiness and reading proficiency. By connecting with early care and education providers, families and engaging our community as reading mentors we are supporting our early learners to be successful in school.

Reading proficiency by the end of third grade is a critical milestone toward high school graduation and career success because it marks the transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” National tests show that two-thirds of U.S. fourth-graders (four-fifths of whom are from low-income families) are not reading proficiently. Students who have not mastered reading by that time are more likely to drop out of high school and struggle throughout their lives.

2021 Bright Spot - Virginia Beach
In 2021 Virginia Beach was selected as a Bright Spot by the Campaign for Grade Level Reading
April 2024
  • Children from poverty hear 30 million fewer words than affluent children by age 3.
  • A child from a disadvantaged background can enter kindergarten 18 months behind his peers.
  • More than 80% of kindergarteners struggling to read will still struggle by third grade.
  • Retaining children in grades K-3 costs Virginia taxpayers $80 million each year.
  • A child’s vocabulary by age 3 is predictive of her reading achievement in third grade.

“Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters”
A KIDS COUNT Special Report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Reading proficiency by third grade is the single best predictor of on-time high school graduation. A child who does not read proficiently by the end of third grade is four times more likely than a skilled reader to drop out of school without earning a diploma. The Annie E. Casey Foundation published a KIDS COUNT Special Report detailing the problem and what can be done to solve it. Read an executive summary or the full report on the Foundation’s website.