Krista Millard, Program Coordinator, Chatham Reads



County Leaders, Agencies Commit to Boosting Early Literacy

Pittsboro, North Carolina (August 14, 2017) – Chatham County, via a county-wide collaboration Chatham Reads, is taking a big step toward improving student success by joining the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (GLR Campaign). The Campaign is a collaborative effort to improve reading proficiency, early learning, and early school success for children from low-income families.

“We are excited to join this National Campaign,” announced Krista Millard, Program Coordinator for Chatham Reads. “Chatham County has so many inspiring and remarkable organizations aligned to focus on the importance of early literacy. Helping all of our children read on grade-level by the end of third-grade is truly a community effort. We must engage families, local businesses, non-profit organizations, and community leaders to assist in this endeavor.”

Reading proficiency by the end of third grade is a critical milestone toward high school graduation and future success as it marks the transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” Students who have not mastered reading by the end of third grade are more likely to drop out of high school and struggle throughout their lives.

Currently, 56% of Chatham County third-graders are reading at grade-level and for economically-disadvantaged students, only 36%. While these statistics are similar to neighboring counties, we know together we can improve outcomes. In regard to Kindergarten readiness, only 46% of Chatham County children entering Kindergarten are meeting early literacy benchmarks. Chatham Reads intends to build upon achievements already being made by the Chatham County School System and community groups with regard to School Readiness, K-3 Literacy, and Summer Learning. The overarching vision of Chatham Reads is that by 2022 80% of Chatham County Schools 3rd grade students will score at or above grade-level.

In Chatham County, the GLR Campaign is supported by The Triangle Community Foundation. Over 10 local nonprofits collaborated and have developed a three year implementation plan.

The communities’ action plans address three underlying challenges that can keep young children, especially those from low-income families, from learning to read proficiently — school readiness, school attendance and summer learning.

“We are thrilled to welcome the newest members of our growing network of communities,” said Ralph Smith, managing director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. “Their commitment to this vital mission comes at a critical time when too many children are falling beyond the reach of schools. We need systems that can assure 24/7/365, two-generation supports and interventions. By taking up this challenge, each of these communities commits to do more, to do better and to make a difference in assuring more hopeful futures for the next generation.”

Membership in the GLR Communities Network gives Chatham County access to experts and policymakers focused on early literacy, assistance in addressing the challenges that keep many children from learning to read, and opportunities to share and learn best practices from more than 300 communities in 42 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Canada.

About Chatham Reads

Chatham Reads is a county-wide collaborative led by two backbone organizations: the Chatham County Public School System and the Chatham Education Foundation. The mission of Chatham Reads is to foster community partnerships that are dedicated to ensuring that literacy and reading resources are accessible to all Chatham County residents. The collaborative includes a wonderful and diverse coalition of community partners including Chatham Literacy, Communities In Schools of Chatham County, Chatham County Partnership for Children, YMCA of the Triangle, Chatham County Health Department, Reach Out and Read, Uplift Chatham, the Chatham County Library, The Learning Trail and other organizations. Visit us online at and follow us on twitter, facebook, and Instagram @chathamreads

About the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

Launched in 2010, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a collaborative effort of funders, nonprofit partners, business leaders, government agencies, states and communities across the nation to ensure that many more children from low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career and active citizenship. Since its launch, the GLR Campaign has grown to include more than 300 communities, representing 42 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Canada with 3,800 local organizations and 250 state and local funders (including 168 United Ways). In North Carolina, the Campaign is led by the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation. Visit and and follow the movement on Twitter @readingby3rd.