Through the leadership of the Central New York Community Foundation, a community-wide literacy initiative was launched and has evolved into the Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County.

We are a community coming together around shared problem-solving and promoting the vision of 100% literacy through 100% community engagement. In Onondaga County, over 200 community members met in extensive planning sessions to establish a community-wide literacy plan with a focus on specific community literacy outcome indicators and priority recommendations.

Read: Community Literacy Work Plan (2009-2010)

The Annie E. Casey Report: Double Jeopardy: How Third Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation inspired and launched the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading in 2011. A national movement that focuses on the most important predictor of school success and high school graduation, grade level reading by the end of third grade, that critical pivot point between learning to read and reading to learn, in three target areas: school readiness; chronic absence; and summer learning loss.


As charter members of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, we know that schools cannot succeed alone and the academic success of children, especially from low-income families, requires engaged communities. This effort is built upon the original strategic planning process that took place in 2007 with over 200 community members and led to the creation of the Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County.

Read: Syracuse Community Solutions Action Plan (CSAP) (2012)

In summary, the Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County is NOT a new program, it’s a community mandate to connect and maximize available literacy resources across the lifespan.  As the community lead for the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, our CSAP is now our strategic plan going forward.

Read: Our Theory of Change – Community Literacy (2013)

Why an early childhood focus? Why adult and family literacy? What is Imagination Library?  Why literacy champion grants? Why is Third Grade Reading is so important?  Learn more…

Read: Syracuse Selected as Pacesetter for Community Effort to Promote Early Reading (2014)

Syracuse’s campaign to improve reading proficiency among its youngest students has been recognized as a Community Pacesetter by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, an honor that reflects the energy, mobilization and creativity that the local community has brought to this important work.

Read: “Open Imagination Library to all Onondaga County children” (2015)

On August 12th at an event at Le Moyne College, we not only released the latest research on the impact of our Imagination Library program on kindergarten readiness… but County Executive Joanie Mahoney wants to help us expand county-wide!  Read the full editorial.

Read: Syracuse Again Recognized as a Pacesetter by the Campaign for Grade-level Reading (2016)

Syracuse was among 38 communities across the nation recognized as Pacesetters for “leading by example” to solve one or more of the challenges that can undermine early literacy – school readiness, school attendance, and summer learning.

Read: Syracuse Named an All-America City (AAC) Award Finalist for Early Literacy (2017)

 Syracuse was also among 27 communities across the nation nominated for the coveted AAC Award for top honors in Civic Action, Community Problem Solving and Progress in Advancing Early Literacy.  This recognition was created 67 years ago by the National Civic League and this year, the League worked with the GLR Campaign to recognize communities that have made measurable progress for low-income children on the key drivers of early reading success —school readiness, school attendance, summer learning and grade-level reading.
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