Baltimore has been named among a recent group of cities that will receive $40,000 grants to target third-grade reading, a critical point in a child's literacy development that Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has recently partnered with the city school system to target.
The grants were announced Monday by Cities of Service, a national, bi-partistan coalition of mayors, who said the funding would enable eight cities to recruit volunteers to implement what is called the Third-Grade Reads Blueprint--an initiative that will recruit well-trained tutors to help student in grades kindergarten to third grade in high-needs schools.
Education researchers have recently emphasized the importance students being able to read by the time they enter fourth grade as a leading indicator to students' academic trajectory. On the most recent set of Maryland School Assessments, Baltimore city students had fallen the furthest behind in third-grade reading.
In the description of proposals, Rawlings-Blake plans to "match 250 of the city’s struggling readers with a one-on-one tutor in the program’s first year as part of the city’s larger work with the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading."
The program is funded by Target, and marks the second significant investment the organization has made to city schools in the last month. The organization also donated $25,000 to Sarah M. Roach Elementary School in the first week of school.