In recognition of the crucial role that museums and libraries play in early learning, IMLS supports the goals of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, including improving school readiness, reducing summer reading loss, and lowering chronic school absence. IMLS began providing grants to libraries and museums to support the Campaign starting in 2010.

Research shows that proficiency in reading by the end of third grade enables students to master the more complex subject matter in the fourth grade. Most students who fail to reach this critical milestone falter in the later grades often drop out before earning a high school diploma. Yet two-thirds of U.S. fourth graders are not proficient readers, according to national reading assessment data. An even higher percentage of low-income students miss this critical milestone.

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading aims to increase by at least 100 percent the number of children from low-income families reading proficiently at the end of third grade in a dozen states by 2020. The Campaign is supported by a broad range of public, private, and nonprofit sector organizations and works with governors, mayors, school boards, superintendents, teachers, chambers of commerce, and many others.