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Third Grade Reading in West Virginia: Solutions for Improved Literacy

Photo of children reading together in a school library

Faced with a global pandemic that has closed schools and declining literacy numbers, the WVPEC is taking on the challenge to improve West Virginia’s literacy levels by the end of third grade. In partnership with the West Virginia Department of Education, the WVPEC will develop a plan to increase the 2018-19 school year scores—56 percent of third graders failed to rate above the West Virginia General Assessment.

To kickstart the process, the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation has provided a $200,000 grant over the next six months to support the WVPEC’s efforts. The West Virginia Department of Education will also be a partner, engaging in the work and providing input through all stages. The Benedum Foundation has taken on third grade reading proficiency as one of its 75th anniversary initiatives.

Steps in the RFP Process:
  • Coordinate a cross-section of experts to explore research and local data on reading proficiency, poverty other socio-economic variables that will help pinpoint underserved areas with the highest needs.
  • Identify existing national and statewide efforts to improve literacy and child development from birth through third grade, researching what is working, what can be improved and how to implement strategies in West Virginia.
  • Explore innovative practices from across the country ranging from family literacy initiatives, out-of-school reading programs, teacher quality improvement in early childhood and elementary school settings, activities and technologies that accelerate reading and advocacy efforts.
  • Recommend new statewide initiatives based on best practices, local data and educational materials that will be shared with the West Virginia Department of Education and regional partners.
  • Release a Request for Proposals along with a compendium of resources and host educational sessions for prospective applicants.
Opportunities for both corporate and nonprofit support and engagement are forthcoming in the months to come. To learn more, get in touch at wvpec@mail.wvu.edu.