Youth Literacy

Youth Literacy

Why Youth Literacy?

By 2020, 67% of jobs in North Carolina will need post-secondary education. Proficient reading in the early grades predicts high school and even later success. Simply put, those who can read at grade-level or beyond go on to graduate. Those who aren’t proficient in reading by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school. The impact is significant for these students, their families, economic growth in our community and social mobility of low-income households.

According to the NC Department of Public Instruction in 2016, average grade-level reading proficiency for economically disadvantaged children in our region was 40%, and for all students it was 58%. That’s nearly half of students in the region that cannot read on grade-level by the end of third grade.

Why We Care

Statistics show that students of color and those from economically disadvantaged families more often receive below proficient scores on early grade reading tests.  Students with disabilities and those with limited English proficiency may not start kindergarten with the same readiness as their peers.  These students are at a disadvantage before they even step foot into school.  We live in a very diverse community where we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to thrive. By investing in students at an early age, especially those who are most vulnerable, we can work together to ensure that all kids succeed.

What We Are Doing

Triangle Community Foundation believes in the impact and effort of the National Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, and is investing in the local collaborations in each of our counties to assist their participation and their ability to provide the services necessary to our community’s children.

The Campaign mobilizes coalitions of nonprofits, parents, business leaders, government agencies, congregations, foundations, and others to remove barriers, expand opportunities, collaborate, and align efforts to ensure that children can read on grade-level by the end of third grade. The Campaign promotes school readiness, summer learning, and attendance, with a focus on engaging families. We will provide over half a million dollars in total  funding to the collaborations in Chatham, Durham, Orange, and Wake counties (Bull City READS, Chatham READS, Orange County Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, and WAKE Up and Read) over the next three years, and are excited to  work together towards success for our children.

Collaborating with Other Funders

As a part of our investment, the Foundation has partnered with United Way of the Greater Triangle to make a bigger difference. Through this partnership, we are leveraging resources to make a regional impact on literacy by supporting the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation, the state lead for the campaign. By working together to affect change in literacy for our students, the we are also hoping to grow support among other regionally-minded funders.

Addressing this critical issue collaboratively not only raises awareness of youth literacy, but allows us to make a greater impact for our kids.

Lori O'Keefe, President & CEO, Triangle Community Foundation


Libby Richards

Senior Community Programs Officer
Phone 919.474.8370 ext:4014