State of Early Literacy: August 2018

Early literacy has long been one of the Rogers Family Foundation’s strategic areas of focus for our Oakland education strategy. When CEO Brian Rogers and community partners first convened the Oakland Literacy Coalition in 2008, it galvanized the field of literacy providers to better align our collective efforts in service of improving reading proficiency for all Oakland students. Though there has been some measured improvement, the work is far from over.

In 2016, the Foundation’s 2020 Strategic Plan restated the importance of early literacy as one of our primary goals, while also ushering in significant changes:

  1. The launch of the Oakland Literacy Coalition as an independent nonprofit organization
  2. Deepened multi-year commitments to fewer organizations more closely aligned to the K-3 reading intervention space

Now a decade after the initial founding of the Oakland Literacy Coalition and midway through the Foundation’s current strategy, 2018 serves as a natural reflection point for assessing the effectiveness of the strategy and evaluating progress to date toward the citywide goal of 85% of students reading proficiently by the end of third grade.

The State of Early Literacy shares the perspective of Ryana S. Barbosa, Literacy Program Officer ( as she reflects on the work over the last two years and where the Foundation might be headed through 2020.