Iowa — State Pacesetter
On January 23, Iowa was recognized by Ralph Smith, managing director, Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, as a State Pacesetter. Iowa currently boasts 12 GLR communities, including 7 receiving Pacesetter Honors, 5 selected as All-America City Finalists and 3 were All-America City Awardees in 2016. The Iowa Campaign for Grade-Level Reading has enjoyed strong gubernatorial support — from Governor Branstad’s leadership during the early years of the Iowa GLR Campaign to Governor Reynolds’ strong leadership and focus on increasing the percentage of children reading at grade level by the end of third grade. Iowa’s Early Literacy Law, passed by the legislature in 2012, created the impetus and framework for the many elements needed to move the needle and close the gap. The approach is paying off, with a combined total of 13,946 students moving from below benchmark to at or above benchmark during the 2015–16 and the 2016–17 school years.