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Community Spotlight: Read On Avondale/Southwest Valley

June 27, 2023

Read On Communities

Read On Avondale/Southwest Valley is the driving force behind several comprehensive strategies to improve language and literacy outcomes for young children in its local communities.

The area is home to one of five local literacy hubs launched as part of Arizona’s Project CALL: Collaborating to Accelerate Literacy and Learning, aimed at reducing learning loss and increasing summer and out-of-school learning in high-need schools and communities serving Arizona’s most disadvantaged students.

The Avondale Community Literacy Hub is overseen by Read On Avondale/Southwest Valley and supported by a consortium of local partners and literacy providers. It offers evidence-based language and literacy programs and resources at Lattie Core School (Avondale Elementary School District) in Avondale, Dos Rios Elementary School (Union Elementary School District) in Tolleson, and other locations in the community. Services include afterschool and summer tutoring, family engagement through Make Way For Books, book distribution, and enrichment activities.

Read On Avondale/Southwest Valley has also been focused on addressing attendance and chronic absence, which spiked following the pandemic. The National League of Cities has published a case study highlighting these local efforts.

In addition, 19 early childhood educators from three local district preschool programs have completed LETRS training this year to more effectively support young children’s language and early literacy development and prepare them to succeed in reading. Follow-up coaching is also being provided to support effective implementation of this research-based professional learning.

Valley of the Sun United Way’s Dawn Gerundo, community lead for Read On Avondale/Southwest Valley, sees collaboration as the force behind the progress being made for early literacy.

“I am so excited about the level of responsibility everyone has taken,” she said. “All the partners involved in Read On Avondale/Southwest Valley have committed to using data and evidence-based practices, because we know that’s the way to reach our goals.”

To learn more about Read On Avondale/Southwest Valley, contact Dawn Gerundo at dgerundo@vsuw.org and visit them on Facebook.


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Dawn Gerundo and Katelyn Orloski, principal of Wildflower Elementary School, participated in the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading's conversation about attendance and chronic absence.