Community Spotlight: Read On Mesa

March 29, 2023

Read On Communities

read-on-mesaRead On Mesa is the City of Mesa’s community literacy initiative, a commitment among a broad base of collaborative partners to accelerate early literacy and reading achievement among the community’s most vulnerable children.

Under the direction of Sarah Tolar, the city’s education and workforce administrator, Read On Mesa is focused on coordinating literacy services, identifying gaps, and strengthening collaboration across community efforts related to school readiness, early grade success, family engagement, professional development, chronic absence, and summer learning loss.

“Being part of Read On Arizona provides an opportunity for our city and community to engage and align with all of the incredible work that is already being done to support literacy in the state of Arizona,” said Tolar. “The City of Mesa is not unique in our challenges and will only become stronger by learning from other communities and partnering with organizations that are all working towards a common goal.”

Read On Arizona supports local literacy efforts through a network of Read On communities. Each works with a wide array of local stakeholders, including schools and school districts, local governments, early learning programs, businesses, faith communities, and nonprofit organizations working directly with families. Each applies the same strategic approaches of the statewide Read On Arizona collaboration to coordinate and maximize their collective efforts in their local community.

In addition to the City of Mesa, cross-sector partners in Read On Mesa include: Mesa Public Schools, Mesa Public Schools Foundation, Mesa Public Library, Mesa Chamber of Commerce, Mesa Community College, Mesa Arts Center, IDEA Museum, First Things First, Mesa United Way, Southwest Human Development, National Center for Families Learning, Education Forward Arizona, and Native Health.

“Young children develop the skills they need to learn to read at home and in community settings as well as in the classroom,” said Lori Masseur, director of early learning for Read On Arizona. “Families, educators, and community members all have a role to play in ensuring that children have meaningful and intentional experiences with reading and literacy.”

Read On Mesa held its inaugural Literacy Summit on March 4 at the Dobson Ranch Library. The event connected families and residents with local literacy programs, organizations, and resources and helped raise awareness around the importance of literacy. Guest storytellers included Mayor John Giles, Vice Mayor Francisco Heredia, and City Councilmember Julie Spilsbury.

“Encouraging our children to read, and to love reading at an early age, is one of the important things we can do as parents and as a community, because it sets the foundation for a lifetime of success,” said Mayor Giles. “The City of Mesa wants to make early literacy a priority in our community.”