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"Raising Arkansas's Readers" special on AETN
raises the urgency of addressing grade-level reading


Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, and the Arkansas Educational Television Network.



The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) in partnership with the Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading will present a one-hour program “Raising Arkansas's Readers: The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading” on Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 7 p.m.

The goal of the Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (AR-GLR) is that by 2020, all Arkansas children will read at grade level by the end of third grade. “Raising Arkansas’s Readers,” features state and national experts who discuss:

  • Why reading by third grade is important
  • How Arkansas measures on third grade reading proficiency
  • What must be done to close the third grade reading gap

Research recognizes that proficiency in reading by the end of third grade enables children to shift from learning to read to reading to learn. Children who are successful readers are more likely to graduate from high school, go to college, and become productive Arkansas citizens.

“AR-GLR acknowledges that the academic success of all children will require a focus beyond school,” said Dr. Sherece Y. West-Scantlebury, president and CEO of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation. “We must improve school readiness, reduce chronic absences, stop summer learning loss, and strengthen parent and community engagement to achieve the Campaign’s goal.”

Panelists for “Raising Arkansas’s Readers” are:

  • Ralph Smith, managing director, National Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
  • Rich Huddleston, executive director, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families
  • Dr. Sherece Y. West-Scantlebury, president and CEO, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation
  • Geania Dickey, program coordinator, Arkansas State University/Childhood Services
  • Tonya Russell, director, Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education, Arkansas Department of Human Services
  • Hedy Chang, director, Attendance Works
  • Jared Cleveland, assistant commissioner, Fiscal and Administrative Services, Arkansas Department of Education
  • Laveta Wills-Hale, network coordinator, Arkansas Out of School Network
  • Lavina Grandon, policy and education director, Rural Community Alliance
  • Dr. André Guerrero, director of programs for language minority students, Arkansas Department of Education.

Viewers are invited to call 1-800-662-2386 during “Raising Arkansas’s Readers” to speak with members of the AR-GLR advisory board who will answer questions about the Campaign and early childhood literacy.

A 20-minute web exclusive featuring the entire panel of “Raising Arkansas’s Readers” will be available on the AR-GLR website following the February 7 broadcast on AETN.



Thursday, February 7 at 7:00 p.m. on AETN



Takema Robinson-Bradberry
Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation

(501) 319-5152

Gerard Matthews
Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families
(903) 733-4532