Roanoke's 'Star City Reads' program wins a national award

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ROANOKE (WSLS10) - Roanoke's 'Star City Reads' program has been named a winner of the Campaign for Grade-level Reading's Pacesetter Award.

'Star City Reads' is one of 38 programs across the country to be named a Pacesetter.

The award honors communities who've made measurable progress towards eliminating the barriers children face when learning how to read.

Additionally, Roanoke's program is just one of seven to receive 2015's 'All-around Pacesetter honors' for making progress in every category.

The program is spear-headed by the director of Roanoke Public Libraries.

The director says she's proud of the program and the strides it's making towards ensuring 100% of the children in Roanoke are proficient readers by the end of third grade.

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Read the full release below.

Roanoke, VA – Roanoke's Star City Reads Program has been named a recipient of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading's 2015 All-Around Pacesetter Award. This award is given to the communities making the most measurable progress in eliminating barriers faced by children as they work toward reading proficiency. A total of 38 communities throughout the United States received Pacesetter Honors for making substantial progress in at least one of these areas. In addition, Roanoke is one of seven localities which will receive the 2015 All-Around Pacesetter Honors for making progress with Star City Reads in every one of the solution areas. Members of the Star City Reads coalition will accept the 2015 All-Around Pacesetter Award in Washington, D.C. in April.

"Pacesetter Honors are among the highest awards presented by the Campaign," said Ralph Smith, managing director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. "We are very proud of Roanoke's Star City Reads coalition and the numerous organizations and individuals behind them, for joining forces and working tirelessly to uplift children and families."

Star City Reads is Roanoke's 2012 All-America City award-winning initiative and a part of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. It has grown from six partners in 2012 to 22 in 2016. Since 2013, the coalition's work has helped to increase the percent of third graders meeting their reading benchmarks on the SOL test from 60.0 percent to 72.3 percent. For low-income children, this figure has increased from 53.1 percent to 67.2 percent.

"We're thrilled to see Roanoke's work recognized with the All-Around Pacesetter Honors," said Sheila Umberger, Director of Roanoke Public Libraries. "I'm so proud of the way every member organization of our coalition has come together to share data and strategies to improve early literacy. We're making great strides toward ensuring that 100 percent of children in our city read proficiently by the end of third grade."

Funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and supported by the National Civic League, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a collaborative network of more than 200 communities nationwide working to improve children's reading outcomes by third grade. The campaign has four goal areas: school readiness, summer learning, reducing absenteeism, and overall progress in grade-level reading.