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UNITED WAY OF DELAWARE LAUNCHES GET DELAWARE READING-WILMINGTON An initiative to ensure 500 Wilmington Kindergarteners read on grade-level by the end of third-grade. Wilmington, DE (December 11, 2018) — United Way of Delaware (UWDE) today announced the launch of Get Delaware Reading—Wilmington, an eight-year plan to ensure that 500 Wilmington kindergartners are reading on grade-level when they exit the third grade. 

According to data from the Delaware Department of Education, last year fewer than 18% of Wilmington public school children were reading on grade-level when they entered fourth-grade. Research suggests that children not reading on grade-level by fourth-grade often struggle with academics and are outperformed by their peers with stronger linguistic skills. Every year in Wilmington approximately 500 children enroll in kindergarten. Get Delaware Reading-Wilmington partners are targeting this group of children with the goal of “moving the needle” from 18% to 30% by 2023 and 30% to 50% by 2026. 

Get Delaware Reading—Wilmington provides pre-kindergartners and their families with comprehensive services designed to help students become grade-level readers by the end of third-grade. The program begins with a cohort of 125 four year olds in eight public schools and early child care centers, and will add a new cohort of 125 pre-kindergartners each year over the next four years, ultimately engaging 500 children by its fourth year. 

The initiative includes a package of evidence-based model programs from Nemours BrightStart! curriculum, Parents as Teachers, and the Delaware Association for The Education of Young Children (DAEYC). Participating children and their families will receive year-round academic and social supports, including literacy training materials; employment coaching; home support visits for parents from trained educators, and tuition support for children to attend reading enrichment summer camps. Additional support for families will include connections to services such as housing, financial literacy, and financial incentives for participation. 

“Wilmington public school children face nothing less than a literacy crisis. And of course, it’s not just the children who will suffer the consequences of this crisis. We must act quickly and aggressively to reverse this trend,” said Michelle Taylor, UWDE President and Chief Executive Officer. “Get Delaware Reading— Wilmington is an aggressive, laser-focused strategy that will engage a large group of children, and their parents with a comprehensive package of literacy services over a five-year period. We expect this focused effort will move the needle and put these children on the road to academic success,” she added. 

Taylor explained that Get Delaware Reading-Wilmington is part of UWDE’s strategic commitment to improving early grade literacy throughout the state. In October 2017, in partnership with Governor Carney’s Office, the Delaware Department of Education, and the State Board of Education, UWDE launched the Delaware Campaign for Grade Level Reading recently re-named Get Delaware Reading. The campaign is collaborating with partners across Delaware to focus on improving school readiness, summer learning, and school attendance, all of which are proven strategies to improve childhood literacy rates. 

Get Delaware Reading—Wilmington’s community partners include: AutoTeam Delaware; the Christina, Red Clay and Brandywine School Districts; the City of Wilmington; DAEYC; Delaware Health and Social Services; the Delaware State Education Association; the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund; First Chance Delaware; Highmark; Nemours BrightStart!; New Castle County; Parents as Teachers; the Reading Assist Institute; Seeds of Greatness Bible Church; the State Department of Education and Wells Fargo. Participating schools and child care centers are Bancroft Elementary, Stubbs Elementary, St. Michael’s, Ministry of Caring, Guardian Angel, Ministry of Caring Jackson Street, YMCA-Walnut, YMCA-Central, Beverly’s Helping Hands, A Leap of Faith and Tender Care Academy About United Way of Delaware United Way of Delaware’s (UWDE) mission is to improve the quality of life for all Delawareans. 

To do this, UWDE focuses its work in three strategic areas: ensuring that children from birth-8 are prepared for school and reading on grade level; ensuring that young people are prepared for success in college and/or a career, and promoting financial stability and empowerment for individuals and families. UWDE works with its corporate, individual, and community-based partners to mobilize resources, engage volunteers, and to advocate for positive social change. For more information or to become engaged with UWDE, visit www.uwde.org or call 302.573.3717.