How to use this toolkit
This toolkit provides tips, tools and templates for galvanizing your community around early grade reading, “promising practices” from United Ways and a wide variety of resources. You can walk through it chronologically, from the first tab (First Steps). Or you can jump into the area you’re tackling right now, then work backwards to see how you can retrofit previous – and necessary – pieces you may have skipped.
However you tackle it, this toolkit can help you:
- Determine the first steps you should take when considering the early grade reading issue
- Think about how to engage your community, including opinion leaders and policy makers but also other key stakeholders: educators, parents, youth, faith communities and community-based organizations.
- Build – or join – broad and deep coalitions that can map out strategies for reading proficiency and activate grass-roots and leadership networks to help bring those
- Elevate public awareness about the grade-level reading challenge, which is not top-of-mind for most people.
- Work with your partners to develop well-researched, data-driven strategies that experts say will impact the greatest number of people most dramatically.
- Leverage assets unique to United Ways, such as workplace campaigns, affinity groups, relationships with the business community, volunteer engagement, 2-1-1 and more.
- Create action agendas with your partners that can bring your strategies to life, including expert-vetted implementation approaches that can help boost reading.
- Find the latest and best research that helps you make the case, and supports the strategies laid out here.
This toolkit will be gradually be expanded and updated over time, so that the contents evolve to reflect the most current research, tools, and best practice. We invite you to submit your early grade reading resources for possible inclusion and also share suggestions for improving the toolkit. Please send your suggestions and/or resources to firstname.lastname@example.org.