Cherish Every Child, the Foundation’s early childhood initiative, began as a city-wide initiative focused on improving the lives of children from birth through age five, and their families, in Springfield, Massachusetts, by helping to ensure that they enter kindergarten ready to succeed.
Reading Success by 4th Grade: A Blueprint for Springfield - The Blueprint contains strategies to improve children’s language and literacy development from birth to age nine in order to achieve the City’s shared goal of 80% of 3rd graders reading proficiently by 2016.
The Community Solutions Action Plan is the plan for early literacy and is well into implementation throughout the City of Springfield. The plan was developed based on the Blueprint for Springfield and adopts a collective impact strategy, engaging the full community around the goal of supporting low income children from birth through third grade.
The initiative to make grade-level reading proficiency by the end of third grade has resulted in a major national award program, the All-America City Award, given annually by the National Civic League. The award is focused on communities who are doing cross-sector campaigns to promote the goal of third grade reading proficiency.
The Leadership Advisory Committee has engaged a diverse group of leaders in the community who work with the Davis Foundation to increase the number and strength of powerful voices for children in Springfield.
Reading is the cornerstone of academic success. In fact, educators attest that until third grade, a child learns to read. After third grade a child reads to learn. Further, a child who enters fourth grade unable to read proficiently is far less likely to graduate from high school, become an effective citizen, and develop the skills essential for contributing to the 21st century economy.
From the moment of their birth, young children‘s brains are developing. Science shows early experiences actually build the architecture of the developing brain; much like a house is built from the bottom up. Each sequential step lays the groundwork for the next set of skills.