Blueprint for Early Childhood Success Recognized with Pacesetter Honors, Bright Spot Award

Recognized for Pivotal Work in Improving Summer Literacy 


November 12, 2020, NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The Blueprint for Early Childhood Success announced today that it has been recognized by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR) with Pacesetter Honors and a Bright Spot award for its summer literacy work, Summer Reading Partners (SRP), in 2019.

“We applaud the civic leaders and local funders whose time, talent, energy and imagination have fueled progress in these Pacesetter communities,” said Ralph Smith, managing director of CGLR. “Mobilized communities like Greater Nashville support our big bet on the problem-solving potential of proximity.”

Students from low-income homes lose an average of two months of reading achievement every summer, while children from middle-income homes tend to make gains. Since reading loss is cumulative, by the end of elementary school students from low-income homes are often more than two years behind their peers.

To address this gap, the Blueprint’s Summer Reading Partners (SRP), led by Alignment Nashville, Nashville Public Library and Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS), convened in 2018 to address summer reading loss. SRP asked summer camps and programs that serve economically disadvantaged pre-K through fourth grade students to commit to embedding 20 minutes of reading into their daily schedule, with the goal of reading 600 minutes during the summer. SRP engaged 14 camps with 785 participating students in 2018 and 21 camps with 1,618 participating students in 2019. This year, at least 855 students from 16 camps participated in the Summer Reading Challenge.

The Blueprint for Early Childhood Success is a citywide literacy initiative that aims to double the number of third graders reading on grade level by 2025. In 2019, United Way of Greater Nashville was selected as the backbone organization to manage the implementation of the Blueprint.

“Given the data from the first two years, we feel certain that access to books and time to read can move the needle on summer reading loss. Through our collaborative initiatives, the Blueprint has developed models that provide children with the tools they need to be successful in school,” said Erica Mitchell, chief community impact officer at United Way of Greater Nashville. “Our partnerships and coalition building have allowed us to ensure professionals working with our most at-risk children have the tools proven to close the educational achievement gap. As this designation shows, we’ve made progress and need to continue to mobilize our community by working with our schools, city agencies, nonprofits, civic leaders and parents.”

“I’m immensely proud of the great work this coalition has achieved together. With public education changing at a rapid pace in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, literacy amongst our youngest students must remain a priority,” said Kent Oliver, director of Nashville Public Library. “Now, more than ever, it is essential that Nashville’s children are equipped with the power of reading early on. The library, and our phenomenal partners at Alignment Nashville and Metro Nashville Public Schools, will continue to make that vision a reality in our city.”

“Summer Reading Partners is an incredible example of how the Nashville community works together to support our children,” said Melissa Jaggers, president and CEO of Alignment Nashville. “It’s inspiring to see so many organizations coming together, aligning their resources and working towards shared goals. Students truly are the center of this partnership, and we are grateful for the recognition of these efforts.”

A collaborative effort by funders, nonprofit partners, business leaders, government agencies, states and communities to ensure that more children in low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career and active citizenship, CGLR focuses on promoting early school success as an important building block of more hopeful futures for children in economically challenged families and communities.

For more information about the Blueprint for Early Childhood Success, visit



About the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading 

Launched in 2010, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a collaborative effort of funders, nonprofit partners, business leaders, government agencies, states and communities across the nation to ensure that many more children from low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career and active citizenship. Since its launch, CGLR has grown to include more than 300 communities, representing 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and two provinces in Canada — with 5,000+ local organizations and 510 state and local funders (including 200+ United Ways). To learn more, visit and follow the movement on Twitter @readingby3rd.

About the Blueprint for Early Childhood Success 

The Blueprint for Early Childhood Success is a citywide framework for literacy that aims to double the number of third graders reading at grade level by 2025. The Blueprint’s goal is to unify community-wide efforts and best practices into a cohesive and actionable plan for Nashville by thinking bigger, digging deeper and coming up with a plan to accelerate action. For more information, visit

About Summer Reading Partners 

To help curb reading loss during out-of-school time for PreK – 4th students who are economically disadvantaged, the Summer Reading Partners initiative activates summer camps, daycares, and other programs to embed dedicated reading time and literacy enrichment activities into their daily schedules. Participating programs receive specialized support, professional development, and resources that equip them for success. Learn more at