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About READ

READ JAX is a community-wide initiative that aspires to a future where all Duval children are reading at or above grade level by the end of 3rd grade. The Jacksonville Public Education Fund and Kids Hope Alliance are helping to lead this effort alongside various community organizations. Together, these organizations have identified four key elements to drive the shared vision of READ JAX: home learning/ family engagement, quality early care & education, VPK - third grade instruction, and broader community engagement. READ JAX is also part of the Florida Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

An alarming number of children—about 65 percent nationwide and more than 75 percent from low-income families—were not reading proficiently by the third grade. Research shows that the third-grade milestone is pivotal. By third grade, reading struggles are strongly linked to later school difficulties, as well as behavioral infractions, depression, and/or negative peer relationships. Equally distressing, research indicates that 74 percent of children whose reading skills are less than sufficient by third grade are less likely to graduate from high school. As a result, these children could lack the skills for success in career and life. 

The 2020/2021 Florida State Assessment (FSA) results revealed that 46% of 3rd grade students in Florida did not score on grade level for literacy. Locally, the results of the 2020/2021 FSA revealed that 52% of 3rd grade students in Duval County did not score on grade level for literacy. Improving literacy for students is a key priority in the Duval County Public School 2021-2026 Strategic Plan.

The Jacksonville Public Education Fund and Kids Hope Alliance are co-lead conveners in addressing this problem. This is a highly collaborative local effort that is part of a national initiative for Grade Level Reading.

JPEF and KHA are committed to bringing together the many organizations and programs already in place to collectively close the literacy gap in Duval County with the lens of advancing equitable outcomes for our community.

KHA is the lead organization on systems building, while JPEF has taken the lead on efforts to raise awareness of the situation and solutions in Duval County.

READ is a one-stop shop for organizations, parents and caregivers, teachers and community members who want to be a part of paving the way to success for Duval County children.

About the Jacksonville Public Education Fund

The Jacksonville Public Education Fund is an independent think-and-do tank that believes in the potential of all students. We work tirelessly to close the opportunity gap for low-income students and students of color. We convene educators, school system leaders and the community to pilot and help scale evidence-based solutions that advance school quality in Duval County.

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About the Kids Hope Alliance

With the vision that every child and youth will reach their academic, career, and civic potential; Kids Hope Alliance: The Jacksonville Partnership for Children, Youth, and Families (KHA), a fiscal agency of the City of Jacksonville, is responsible for overseeing the implementation and management of children and youth programs, services, and activities, accomplished through third-party service providers. Through these partnerships with local providers, KHA’s mission is to build and ensure access to a continuum of comprehensive and integrated programs, services, and activities that address the critical needs of children, youth, and families in Jacksonville.

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