By Rich Pollack
DELRAY BEACH – (Oct. 3) Delray Beach’s Campaign for Grade Level Reading team is looking for community and business leaders, parents and other caring residents to participate in Delray Reads Day, a community-wide effort on Nov. 8 bringing readers into every public elementary school classroom in the city.
Designed to bring awareness of the need to increase third-grade reading scores throughout the city’s schools, Delray Reads Day will start off with a continental breakfast at Toussaint L’Ouverture High School at 8 a.m. Readers will then travel to their assigned schools, arriving before 9:30 a.m., where they will meet with educators before reading to students.
“We are excited about Delray Reads Day and the warm reception this innovative and ambitious program is receiving from members of the community as well as from educators,” said Janet Meeks, Delray Beach’s Education Coordinator. “Our goal is to highlight the outstanding work being done in our schools, emphasize the importance of improving student reading, and forge long-term relationships that will benefit our students, our schools and our community as a whole.”
Part of a national call to action from the National Civic League in 2011, Delray Beach’s Campaign for Grade Level Reading is a community-wide effort led by the city of Delray Beach to increase third-grade reading scores by 50 percent by the year 2020.
Citywide, 45 percent of the third-graders in public schools were found to be reading below grade level. In four of the seven schools, 70 percent of the students were found to be reading below grade level. A plan, created by the community over several months, focuses on three areas of need: summer reading, school readiness and attendance.
Programs already in place include a partnership with the Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce on a pilot program in two schools that is designed to reward students for punctuality and good attendance and a summer reading program for students in the city’s summer day camp program.
To sign up to read or learn more about the program, visit www.delrayreads.org or call Janet Meeks at 561-243-7231.