The Vision

Read901 is a city-wide initiative on one of the most important indicators for a student's success: grade-level reading by the end of third grade. Read901 combines the strength of community based organizations, funders, city agencies, and corporations to align the work of these multi-sector partners who are all committed to improving outcomes for students. 

In alignment with Shelby County School's Destination 2025, Read901 is working to see 90% of 3rd grade Shelby County students reading on grade level by 2025. Read901 brings the community together around four, research-backed levels of change: out-of-school time, school readiness, family engagement, and school attendance. By providing various resources (books, curriculum, assessments, etc.), facilitating partnerships, supporting data driven decision making, and shining light on the amazing work of our community partners, Read901 is helping to effect real change in our communities.

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School Readiness

Research shows that many children from low-income families start school unprepared. They are less likely to experience reading at home, have access to books, or receive high-quality early care. As a consequence, these children may hear as many as 30 million fewer words than their middle-income peers before reaching kindergarten. Research shows that such interactions are critical for language development, an important precursor to literacy.

Out-of-School Time

After school and summer create opportunities for continued growth and sustained acheivement. Without access to enrichment, both academic and otherwise, less affluent students can lose as much as three months of reading comprehenion skills over the summer. This can leave students behind by as much as three grade levels by the end of fifth grade. Utilizing the summer and after school space to address this gap advances the march to grade-level reading.

Family Engagement

Family serves as first teacher to their children. With emotinal and social support, family engagement ensures the success of other interventions, and can foster a love of learning.

School Attendance

Absences early in a child's school career can deny students the time they need to develop literacy skills. Measure chronic absence (missing 10% of school year) identifies all days a student missess--excused or not. That mark of chronic absense has preceded lower acadmic performance in the subsequent academic year. Being present is vital for ensuring grade-level reading. 

We were the people who were not in the papers. 

We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. 

We lived in the gaps between the stories.

Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale