SALT LAKE CITY — United Way of Salt Lake's plan to ensure that more children are reading at grade level by the end of third grade has been chosen as a finalist for the All-America City Award, sponsored each year by the National Civic League.        

"We are thrilled to be listed among the finalists for this award," said Deborah Bayle, president and CEO of United Way of Salt Lake. "We focus on third-grade reading and achievement because we know it is a key indicator of a child's future success in school and life. Together with our partners, we have established a bold set of goals and strategies to level the playing field and change the odds for all children so that every child can succeed." 

The third-grade milestone marks the point when children shift from learning to read and begin reading to learn. Students who haven’t mastered reading by then are more likely to get stuck in a cycle of academic failure, drop out of school, and struggle throughout their lives. 

The plan was submitted by a cross-sector coalition of partners including: United Way of Salt Lake, the city of South Salt Lake, Clearfield, Salt Lake County, Park City, Granite School District, Park City School District, Davis School District and several nonprofit organizations.

United Way of Salt Lake is one of 32 finalists selected through a peer review process from a field of more than 120 entries across the country. Winners will be announced July 2 in Denver.