Guest post by Sarah Sugden, Director, Brown County Library
On October 5, 2022, Brown County Library (BCL) partnered with Achieve Brown County (ABC) and almost 40 supporting organizations to host a Reading Success Summit. Nearly 200 attendees, including business leaders, elected officials, education professionals, healthcare providers, youth advocates, and community members, gathered to learn and convene around a reading proficiency crisis in Brown County.
County Executive Troy Streckenbach shared opening remarks highlighting the impact of reading proficiency rates on the County’s economic success and workforce competitiveness. Jane Danowit, M.D., Bellin Health, and Cory Mathieu, Ph.D., UWGB, presented information on early brain development as well as the foundations of literacy. ABC’s Evidence Based Decision Making Manager, Christian Roovers, provided county reading proficiency data and a summary of community listening sessions held over the past six months. Sharing the keynote presentation was Scott Hall, Senior Vice President of Civic & Community Issues for the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. Hall spoke on building tomorrow’s workforce through kindergarten readiness and early intervention. Enhancing these presentations were three videos created for the Summit by award-winning filmmaker Khrome.
The Reading Success Summit was sponsored by the Friends of Brown County Library, Brown County Library Foundation, Khrome, Waterford Upstart, and Wisconsin Public Radio. Planning for this event began in 2021 and has involved numerous community organizations – all of which are committed to supporting Brown County’s kids and economic future. More information about the Summit, including links to Brown County reading proficiency data and presentation slides and videos can be found at https://achievebrowncounty.org/collaborative-action/reading-for-the-future/.
With the completion of the Reading Success Summit, BCL and ABC will continue to lead community efforts to take action to increase Brown County’s reading proficiency rates. A planning team will develop and implement strategy for the creation and maintenance of a community coalition supporting a grade-level reading campaign. This grade-level reading campaign is a long-term initiative that will be a broad, County-wide, collaborative effort focusing on grade-level reading proficiency by the end of third grade. More about grade-level reading campaigns can be found at https://gradelevelreading.net/.
Reading Success Summit attendees expressed clearly their concerns about a future in which Brown County’s reading proficiency rates continue to be low. Among the most common responses were fears for the region’s ability to attract and retain businesses and employers. One attendee stated that if our reading proficiency rates don’t improve, “Our community will fail.” BCL’s grade-level reading proficiency work with community partners will help ensure that Brown County’s future is one in which our communities (and people!) thrive.
Photos were obtained from a Brown County Library Facebook post (below).
Tech Bits Archive