Reading for Life: Beyond School Hours

by Rhonda H. Lauer on February 23, 2011

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As part of the exciting series Reading for Life, Foundations’ President and CEO Rhonda H. Lauer shares her expertise and insights about grade level reading. Join Ms. Lauer as she offers key viewpoints and commentary based on her extensive experience working in Philadelphia–and across the country–to give our children and young people the educational opportunities they deserve.

Learning to read brings children a tremendous sense of accomplishment. The first time they read a book by themselves their faces light up with pride. From that point forward, new worlds, new people, and new experiences are open to them. Although some children master this skill by third grade, the majority of our nation’s public school students do not. The traditional school day is not long enough to get them reading at grade level. They need more time.

This week in Atlanta, Georgia, Foundations is holding its fourteenth annual Beyond School Hours (BSH) conference. BSH is a nationally recognized gathering of educators and thought leaders who are committed to improving teaching and learning in school, afterschool, and in our homes and communities. Once again, this year’s focus is my number-one issue: grade level reading. The topic is a primary conference strand; presentations and workshops will provide attendees with the tools and knowledge they need to transform students of all ages into lifelong readers.

New this year is our Grade Level Reading Symposium, a lively panel discussion moderated by my good friend and colleague Ralph Smith, Executive Vice President of The Annie E. Casey Foundation, our partner in Making Connections. He will be joined by a team of distinguished experts from around the country, who will discuss current research, innovations, and best practices in the area of grade level reading. And we are providing each attendee with a copy of Foundations’ highly anticipated publication, Grade Level Reading: An Action Framework for School And District Leaders, which highlights the critical actions – both academic and non-academic – educators can undertake now to ensure that all children read at grade level by third grade.

I hope to see you in Atlanta!

A Graffiti Wall poem written by participants at the BSH pre-conference

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