May 24, 2017
Legislators and Community Leaders Read to Young Children in Early Learning Programs Across the State

Rhode Island Reads: the Campaign for 3rd Grade Reading - led by United Way of Rhode Island and Rhode Island KIDS COUNT - teamed up with the Rhode Island Association for the Education of Young Children to arrange for community leaders to read at early learning programs across the state. 

Guest readers organized over three days in April and May 2017 included 19 state legislators, including Senate President Dominick Ruggiero and Representative Grace Diaz (Chairwoman of the Legislative Commission on Child Care). There were also 15 community leaders who read to young children, including RI Department of Education Commissioner Ken Wagner, RI Department of Human Services Administrator for Family and Children's Services Karen Beese, members of the United Way of Rhode Island's Women's Leadership Council; and employees from Hasbro, Inc. 

For more information, including a full list of guest readers and early learning program locations, please click here. To see pictures from the readers, please click here.
May 25, 2017: Afterschool Day at the State House

The Afterschool Leadership Circle (ALC) at United Way of Rhode Island invites you to attend the Afterschool Day at the Rhode Island State House on Thursday, May 25, from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. This event is an opportunity for Rhode Island afterschool and summer programs and their advocates to engage with key policymakers, and present a unified message of the value of afterschool and summer learning programs for our state's young people and families. This event is the culmination of a yearlong effort to build the advocacy skills of the field, which began last October at ALC's Lights On Afterschool event. 

Additionally, the day will include:  
  • Educating Rhode Islanders about the value of afterschool and summer learning programs. 
  • Advocating for funding for afterschool and summer learning programs. 
  • Connecting with legislators who create policy that affects your programs.
Registration Now Open for State Pre-K and Head Start

Families with children who will be age 4 by September 1, 2017 and who live in one of the State Pre-K communities can now register for the State Pre-Kindergarten lottery. State Pre-K communities are Central Falls, Cranston, East Providence, Johnston, Newport, North Providence, Pawtucket, Providence, Warwick, West Warwick, and Woonsocket. Families can apply for the lottery online here or family members may pick up an application at pre-kindergarten program locations. 

Families can also download the application online here. Applications for State Pre-K will be accepted through July 1. 

Families with very low incomes have another option for preschool and can apply for enrollment in Head Start. Head Start is offered statewide to children who are age 3 or 4 by September 1. Children are selected for Head Start based on the needs of the family. Contact information for Head Start programs serving each community in Rhode Island is available online. Head Start also offers an online application here
Rhode Island Reads Advocacy Agenda

Achieving our goal of doubling the number of 3rd graders reading proficiently requires focused attention and resources dedicated to improving the learning and development of children from birth through age 8. 

  • Increase funding for State Pre-K and Head Start 
  • Adopt a tiered quality child care rate structure to improve access to high-quality programs for young children as well as school-age children 
  • Preserve and protect federal funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers 
  • Restore state funding for summer learning 
  • Help school districts implement strategies to reduce chronic absence in grades K-3 
  • Begin implementing a statewide Kindergarten Entry Profile to understand the strengths and needs of children at entry to public school.
The Rhode Island Children's Cabinet Focusing on 3rd Grade Reading Goal

The Rhode Island Children's Cabinet consists of state agency leaders who commit to working together to accomplish more than they can alone. The Children's Cabinet facilitates cross-agency decision-making to improve outcomes for children and their families. 

Recognizing the Governor's goal of doubling the number of third graders reading proficiently by 2025, the Children's Cabinet has taken on the task of advancing efforts to improve children's learning and development from birth through third grade, working across sectors of health, education, human services, and other areas. Please see the April presentation for more information.

Newport Recognized for Making Progress in Advancing Early Literacy

The City of Newport will be recognized as a Pacesetter Honoree at the national Grade-Level Reading conference in Denver, Colorado during the National Grade-Level Reading Week (June 14-16, 2017). The City will be honored for making measurable progress to ensure more children are reading on grade level by the end of third grade. 

Newport is also a finalist for the All-America Cities Award, which is given to cities that demonstrate civic engagement and cross-sector collaboration and have "moved the needle" for low-income children on the key drivers of early reading success - school readiness, school attendance, summer learning and grade-level reading.