Edgecombe & Nash Counties Join Nationwide Campaign for Grade-level Reading


Rocky Mount, NC (January 26, 2017) – Nash and Edgecombe counties are taking a big step toward supporting children’s success by joining the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (GLR), a nationwide movement to increase early reading proficiency. Twin Counties Read to Rise (a coalition across Nash and Edgecombe counties) will support strategies beginning at birth that put children on a pathway to grade-level reading by the end of third grade. This is the single greatest predictor of future academic and career success.

“We are excited that Nash and Edgecombe counties were selected to participate in this national campaign,” said Henrietta Zalkind, DEPC executive director and facilitator of the Read to Rise effort. “Multiple organizations came together to make Twin Counties Read to Rise a reality. We know that reading on grade level by the end of third grade is not just the key to academic success but also the key to future economic success of our communities. This is good news that will provide a boost for our future.”

The CGLR mobilizes funders, nonprofit partners, business leaders, government agencies, states and communities across the nation to ensure that many more children succeed in school and graduate prepared for active citizenship, college or a career. Since its launch in 2010, the Campaign has grown to 244 communities. Twin Counties Read to Rise joins four existing North Carolina communities in Gaston, Mecklenburg, Moore and Wake counties. Wayne County was also selected this year in READ Wayne. ­­

Only 1 in 3 children in Edgecombe County and 1 in 2 children in Nash County are currently reading on grade level by the end of the third grade.  Reading in the early grades predicts high school and later success. Those who read well, go on to graduate, but those who aren’t reading well by the end of third grade, are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

The Campaign addresses three underlying challenges that impact the reading success of young children, especially those from low-income families:

  • School readiness — too many children are entering kindergarten already behind
  • School attendance — too many young children are missing too many days of school
  • Summer learning — too many children are losing ground academically over the summer

The Twin Counties Read to Rise coalition consists of the following organizations and welcomes new active organizations:

Boise-Willis Clinic
Braswell Memorial Library
Cummins Rocky Mount Engine Plant
Down East Partnership for Children (facilitator)
Edgecombe County Public Library
Edgecombe County Schools
Harrison Family YMCA
Head Start, N.E.E.D., Inc.
Nash-Rocky Mount School District
Nashville Baptist Church
PNC Community Foundation
Teach for America
United Way of the Tar River Region

The Down East Partnership for Children is serving as the facilitator of the Twin Counties Read to Rise campaign. Please contact Debra Lanham if you would like to partner with this initiative or would like more information. Call 252-985-4300 or e-mail




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