The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

“89% of students in poverty who did read on grade-level by the end of third grade graduated on time, statistically no different than students who never experienced poverty.” – Education Week 8.7.18

Part of a nationwide movement of 390 communities, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a regional effort to help all children, especially those from low-income families, succeed in school by ensuring all children read on grade level by the end of third grade. Since 2015, United Way Suncoast in Manatee County is the lead partner focused on building a cross-sector collaboration amongst government, foundations, business, non-profit agencies and the media.

“We will know we have accomplished our goal when systems, policies, and practice align to ensure that all children are reading on grade level by the time they leave third grade. What is your role?” – Always Show Up

“‘What are you doing to support Grade-Level Reading?’ That’s how the conversation began. – Community Champions

Bronwyn Beightol is the Manatee Area President of United Way Suncoast

SCGLR Vision for 2018

  • Increase the number of children achieving Reading Proficiency by the end of third grade by supporting summer programming and community enrichment opportunities
  • Continue to decrease chronic absenteeism through awareness & education
  • Expand authentic parent engagement programs to provide tools to elevate families
  • Enhance countywide data collection and geo-mapping to support cohesive strategy
  • Expand Front-Line agencies in human & health services to support mental health
  • Expand corporate partnerships & involvement elevate children, community & awareness

SCGLR’s Focus on ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed)

  • Focus in 15 Title 1 elementary schools (families live within 200% of poverty line) with a student population of 8,500 students VPK to 5th grade and surrounding neighborhoods
  • Highest geographic percentage of ALICE population in Manatee County
  • Develop collectively SCGLR community-based programs and events to support ALICE Families and families in poverty


SCGLR works within five solution areas proven to ensure early school success:

  • School Readiness
  • Attendance
  • Summer Learning
  • Family Engagement
  • Healthy Children

SCGLR Results

  • UWS has established SCGLR Manatee Advisory Council of 5 key stakeholders creating cohesive strategic vison to support the goals of the SCGLR.
  • UWS has established a SCGLR Manatee County Frontline Community Task Force, which now has 20 agencies working in collaboration to share common messaging, resources and establish community partnerships to support the goals of the SCGLR
  • Since 2015, chronic student absenteeism (more than 10% school days missed) has reduced by 40% in Title 1schools.
  • Since 2015, the 3rd grade Reading proficiency rates have risen from 47% to 51% (FSA) in Manatee County
  • In 2017, SCGLR established the “Summer Book Challenge” to encourage children to read more than 6 books over the summer.
  • In 2017, SCGLR established 8 Reach out and Read Clinics, 16 providers distributed 10,915 books to children in Rural Health Clinics in Manatee County