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May 14, 2013

Silicon Valley Leaders to Compete for Title of Literacy Champion

Reading Partners Inaugural Silicon Valley Celebrity Spelling Bee Pits Business, Philanthropic, and Political Leaders in Spelling Competition

 

Palo Alto, CA—May 13, 2013—Some of Silicon Valley’s best known leaders, visionaries and entrepreneurs will put their minds to the test and help improve early childhood literacy when they compete in the inaugural Reading Partners Silicon Valley Celebrity Spelling Bee on June 3.

Reading Partners, a national nonprofit dedicated to helping improve literacy skills for children in low-income elementary schools across the U.S., is hosting the celebrity spelling bee to grow awareness and raise funds for its successful literacy intervention program in the Silicon Valley region. The event is presented by Kilroy Realty. Additional sponsors include City National Bank and The Sobrato Organization.

“Silicon Valley is universally recognized as a global hub of innovation and opportunity,” said Tim Draper, Venture Capitalist and Founder of Draper, Fisher, Jurvetson. “If we are going fuel future innovation and empower the next generation of skilled technology workers, more kids need to have the fundamental literacy skills required to graduate high school, attend college, and find work in a competitive global economy. Reading Partners is helping ensure children in our community are better prepared to be a part of that opportunity.”

The star-studded event will bring together dedicated literacy advocates from the local business, technology and political communities for an evening of competition and fun to help fight one of the biggest issues in education today. Anyone can attend to watch and cheer on their favorite speller, and tickets can be purchased online by clicking here.

Confirmed spelling bee participants include:

  • Harris Barton, retired San Francisco 49er and Co-founder of Champion Charities
  • Tim Draper, Founder, Draper Fisher Jurvetson
  • Dave Goldberg, CEO, SurveyMonkey
  • Carl Guardino, President and CEO, Silicon Valley Leadership Group
  • Lisa Kim, former NBC Bay Area news anchor
  • Sam Liccardo, Councilmember, City of San Jose
  • Lisa Sobrato Sonsini, Board President and Trustee, Sobrato Family Foundation
  • Steve Sordello, CFO, LinkedIn
  • Mark Stevens, Managing Partner, S-Cubed Capital

Where: Draper University, 44 East 3rd Street, San Mateo, Calif.

When: Monday, June 3, 2013, 6:30-8:30pm PT

These Bay Area celebrities will be part of spelling teams that will compete in a 3-5 round competition, with one team emerging as the winner. The competition begins before the event, as each team will have two weeks to raise funds to help improve their odds in the competition.  The more funds teach team raises, the more “Spelling Passes” they can earn. A Spelling Pass enables a team to skip a challenging word and pass it along to stump their opponents.

All funds from ticket sales and fundraising go to support Reading Partners Silicon Valley. Anyone can follow the action and support their favorite team on Twitter using the #RPBEE hashtag.

“Reading Partners started in Silicon Valley 14 years ago, in a school in East Palo Alto, and we are thrilled these local visionaries and leaders are supporting us in our mission,” said Michael Lombardo, CEO of Reading Partners. “Working together with business, nonprofit and political leaders, Reading Partners is committed to ensuring all children in our community, and across the U.S., have access to acquire the literacy skills they need to succeed in the 21st century.”

According to The National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, 75 percent of fourth graders in California can’t read at their grade level. In San Mateo County, only 38 percent of 3rd graders from low-income communities are reading at grade level.

Reading Partners recruits and trains volunteers to provide one-on-one literacy tutoring with a student reading significantly below grade level. In the 2012-13 school year Reading Partners provided individually customized, volunteer-led instruction to 935 students in the Silicon Valley region.

Reading Partners sees demonstrable results in improving the reading skills of students in its data-driven program. In the 2011-2012 school year, 89 percent of students in a community-based Reading Partners program accelerated their progress in reading. Before enrollment last year, Reading Partners students gained an average of only 0.6 months of reading skills for every month in the classroom. By the end of a year with Reading Partners, students gained an average of 1.6 months of reading skills per month, more than doubling their rate of learning and catching up to their on-grade peers.

About Reading Partners

Reading Partners is a national nonprofit organization that provides volunteer-led, one-on-one literacy tutoring to more than 5,500 elementary school students in 103 schools in low-income communities across six states and the District of Columbia. Reading Partners delivers a highly effective, research-validated program that has helped thousands of children master the fundamental reading skills they need to succeed in school and beyond. Visit www.readingpartners.org, or connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, to learn more about how Reading Partners is helping improve student literacy, and how you can help children in your community improve their reading skills and succeed in school.

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