15 U.S. communities awarded top honors in civic action, community problem solving and advancing early literacy
MANATEE COUNTY, FL (June 26, 2017) – Manatee County is part of an award-winning Suncoast Region, one of 15 U.S. communities named a 2017 All-America City Award recipient by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and the National Civic League.
Manatee and Sarasota counties are part of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR) which received a variety of accolades, including the All-America City Award, a Pacesetter Honor, and three Communications Awards during Grade-Level Reading Week in Denver. The Campaign was recognized for exemplary work to unite the community and engage families in an effort to increase reading proficiency and combat the challenges that can undermine early literacy.
Fifteen communities across the country were honored earlier this month with the 2017 All-America City Award (AAC) for their civic engagement to help more young children from low-income families achieve grade-level reading proficiency and early school success. Research has long shown that when children read at proficient levels by third grade they are more likely to complete high school prepared for college, a career and active citizenship.
“We applaud the ’big tent’ coalitions in these award-winning communities. They put a stake in the ground around third-grade reading and made some ‘big bets’ to improve the odds for early school success,” said Ralph Smith, managing director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. "Those big bets are paying off in more hopeful futures for so many vulnerable children in these communities."
Cheri Coryea, Manatee County Neighborhood Services Department director, said one of the primary reasons this area was selected as an All-America City Award is the Manatee County Public Library System’s innovative new literacy program, “I Am a Lifelong Learner.” The program supports the Suncoast Campaign for Grade Level Reading and is unique for its partnerships and collaboration.
"The program aims to improve literacy by targeting our youngest readers in locations they are familiar with: their neighborhoods," Coryea said. "Proceeds from the Manatee Library Foundation Stephen King/John Grisham and Nicholas Sparks fundraisers over the past two years have created a new Lifelong Learner Campaign Coordinator."
The Lifelong Learner Campaign Coordinator interacts directly with young children in geographically challenged areas to offer pop-up programs that develop literacy skills. She also helps coordinate summer reading programs at our libraries and the new reading rooms around the community and enriches parental engagement through other programs and technology.
“We are proud to partner with The Patterson Foundation, United Way of Manatee County, School District of Manatee County and others to make progress in moving children’s literacy skills on grade level and for those efforts to be recognized as an All American City,” Coryea said.
For more information on Manatee County Government, visit online at www.mymanatee.org or call (941) 748-4501. You can also follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/manatee.county.fl and on Twitter, @ManateeGov.