Summer reading program launched in BCS

Birmingham City Schools, The City of Birmingham, Bold Goals Coalition of Central Alabama, The Literacy Council and United Way launched a summer reading initiative with students at Oliver Elementary School. It’s part of the Campaign for Grade Level Reading that targets 3rd grade reading success across the district.

The campaign focuses on ensuring students read proficiently by the end of third grade. Statistics show that reading proficiency by the end of third grade is a key predictor of high school graduation and career success.

“It is our goal for every one of you to read on level,” said Dr. Kelly Castlin-Gacutan, Birmingham City Schools superintendent. “Our communities will get better when you and I know how to read.”

Locally, the attention is driven in three areas: the readiness gap where children from low-income families begin school already far behind; the attendance gap where low-income children miss too many days of school; the summer slide where many children lose ground over the summer months.

The national Campaign for Grade Level Reading is a collaborative effort of funders, nonprofits, government agencies, business leaders, states and communities across the nation to turn this around and put children on the path for success. The goal is by 2020 that a dozen states or more will increase by at least 100 percent the number of children from low-income families reading proficiently by the end of third grade.

“We want you to read everyday,” Drew Langloh, President and CEO of United Way, told the Oliver students. “When you finish these books there are many more to read in the library.”

The Bold Goals Coalition was instrumental in forming this collaboration and other collaborative networks to achieve key goals in education across Central Alabama. These action networks are providing the necessary support for all students to be proficient in reading and math and graduate on time. To learn more about the Bold Goals Coalition visit

United Way of Central Alabama Inc. supports health and human service programs and agencies that provide solutions for the most important needs in the community. Its business is to improve lives and community conditions by building and mobilizing resources. To learn more about United Way’s impact in your community  visit