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Virginia Beach READS

 Find out why reading proficiency by third grade is so important – and what we’re doing about it.

  VB Reads

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Virginia Beach READS

Virginia Beach Reads

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 th​is 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.



Virginia Beach is proud to be among over 150 communities committed to promoting school readiness, ensuring on-time daily attendance, and combatting the summer slide. Read More

Our Work

Find out how Virginia Beach READS is making a difference in our community. Read More

Related Information

Tutor Resources

Volunteer Manual

Initial Training Video (Coming Soon!)

Watch a Sample Lesson (Coming Soon!)

Campaign Partners

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 coalition is led by Virginia Beach GrowSmart and currently includes representatives from: the Virginia Beach City Public Schools; the Virginia Beach Public Library, Department of Parks and Recreation, and Office of Volunteer Resources; the non-profit organization Square One; and United Way South Hampton Roads.

Virginia Beach READS has also recently partnered with Barnes & Noble Booksellers and received a generous grant from the Future Leadership Partners of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation.

School Readiness

The foundation for reading success is laid in the first five years. Virginia Beach GrowSmart is dedicated to ensuring children are ready to learn when they enter kindergarten. Through its work with early education providers and partnership organizations, GrowSmart seeks to align services to create a coordinated local early childhood system. GrowSmart’s parent education and outreach efforts aim to equip a child’s first and most important teachers with the knowledge and resources they need to promote his healthy physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development.

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. There is still work to be done, and we won’t be satisfied until every child in Virginia Beach enters kindergarten ready to learn.

Summer Slide

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.

The Library’s Title I Summer Reading Partnership is Virginia Beach READS’s largest coordinated effort at combatting the “summer slide.” Data from the pilot year (2013) reveal that, after 8 weeks, an amazing 77% of children enrolled in the program maintained or improved their reading skills; 72% ended the summer reading on grade level! Read more about this program and the many other ways VBPL is working to combat summer learning loss here.

Parks and Recreation has a variety of school-based and rec center-based summer camps. Many other community organizations offer summer learning opportunities. Find a list here.

On-Time, Every Day!

Chronic absence leads to lower academic achievement. When illness or other factors take a child out of school for even a day, she is in danger of falling behind her peers. Repeated absences compound the problem, and chronically absent children who already struggle in reading are at the greatest risk.

Tardiness also plays a part. Children who fail to arrive to school on time lose valuable time in the classroom. In the early grades, reading instruction often takes place in the morning; children with consistently late arrivals miss out one of the most important parts of the school day. To find resources for promoting on-time daily attendance, visit Campaign partner Attendance Works.

Get Involved

Virginia Beach READS is looking for community organizations committed to youth education and development to join our local coalition. Help us develop programs, spread the word, or raise money. Contact us with ideas for how your organization can help to advance our efforts at promoting school readiness and on-time daily attendance and combatting the summer slide.

We also need caring individuals who want to make a difference by volunteering for our programs and spreading the word about the importance of third grade reading proficiency. Contact us today to get involved!

Summer Learning


The Statistics Lottery


Attendance Works


: Bringing together City, Schools, and the Community for a common mission.

GrowSmart’s mission is to promote and improve the healthy development, school readiness, and reading proficiency of young children, ages 0-8, in Virginia Beach.