Our Work

 How do we get all of our students reading on grade level by the end of third grade?

Lehigh Valley Reads focuses on five key areas that impact a child’s progress.  Coalitions of community members, service providers, educators, family members, volunteers, and staff from United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley and PBS39 do the work in the community to help us achieve our overall goal of reading proficiency. 

 

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Early Childhood Education

How does early childhood learning connect to third grade reading?

Nearly 7,000 babies are born in the Lehigh Valley every year, and almost half live in low-income families. Our most vulnerable children have the most limited exposure to high-quality childcare and will likely begin kindergarten 12-14 months behind their peers. Seven out of ten children in the Lehigh Valley are not ready for kindergarten, socially, emotionally or cognitively. Children who enter kindergarten not ready need additional supports to improve their language and literacy development to get them on track for reading well by the end of third grade.


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Summer Learning

What happens to a child’s reading skills over the summer months?

When school lets out for the summer, new challenges emerge for many children living in poverty. In addition to limitations on free or reduced breakfast and lunch, many children do not have access to learning opportunities that help them continue to build their reading skills. Children who do not participate in learning programs or enrichment opportunities such as field trips, camps, etc. over the summer can lose between two to three months of reading skills. This is called the "summer slide". 


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Challenge 5 Attendance

What happens to a child’s reading skills if they miss just 2 days of school each month?

About 1 in 5 children across the Lehigh Valley miss more than 18 days of school each year. That’s roughly 2 days per month, 10 percent of the school year, and about a month of lost learning opportunity. Students who miss this many days are considered chronically absent, fall behind in their course work, and have a difficult time keeping connected with their classmates.  Challenge 5 encourages students to attend school every day, and to strive for less than five days absent each year.


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Trauma Informed Schools

How does trauma at home affect a child in the classroom?

One in 4 children will witness or experience a traumatic event before the age of 4. Children who experience trauma can have significant delays in their language and emotional brain development, which can make it more challenging to pay attention in class and process new information. 


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Community Schools

How can schools serve as community resource centers?

Due to many variables, there are schools across the Lehigh Valley that lack the available resources to adequately serve their children and families.


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