Winnebago County Chairman Haney and City of Rockford Mayor McNamara hosted a press conference on Tuesday, July 10 to launch the Read 815 Community Campaign Kick-off.

Reading proficiency, especially for 3rd graders, can show indicators for future student success. At a recent community forum facilitated by Tamarack Institute, regional challenges to 3rd grade literacy were addressed by a number of community stakeholders. The county has responded with their Read 815 initiative challenging every student in the Winnebago County to read 1 book per week between now and the start of the school year.

Chairman Haney says, creating a culture of reading in our community is critical to our long-term success. It impacts everything – from quality of life for our residents and their families to our communities’ ability to attract and retain business to public safety.”

Summer reading is just one of the strategies to improve reading scores and aligns with the collective impact movement of other efforts to improve literacy in the community.  Alignment Rockford’s is providing backbone support for the 3rd grade reading initiative which seeks to improve 3rd grade literacy across the region so that all 3rd graders will be reading at grade-level.  Existing programs, along with the County’s new challenge, will work together to create long-lasting systemic change in our student’s literacy levels.  Other initiatives are being pursued by the Rockford Public Library, Rockford Park District, and the Literacy Council.

The Read 815 challenge is supported by both Fred VanVleet (Toronto Raptors) and Dean Lowry (Green Bay Packers), along with Alignment Rockford and other collective impact partners are working to create a culture of reading in our region. Pick up a book for you or your children and start reading to be a part of that movement too!