Whether you’re a parent or caregiver, we all want the best for our kids. Part of that is making sure they have the reading skills to succeed in school and in life.

That starts with “Read on Phoenix” at your local Ahwatukee library. Together we can ensure that every child in Phoenix is reading by the third grade. It’s critical to the future of our kids and our community.

Studies show that if kids aren’t reading at grade level by the time they finish third grade, they are more likely to continue struggling, less likely to graduate high school and will not meet the expectations of the 21st-century workforce.

Read on Phoenix engages parents, businesses and the community to improve third-grade reading proficiency through school readiness, summer learning opportunities, after-school literacy and volunteerism.

Thanks to partners like the Valley of the Sun United Way, Read on Arizona, the Phoenix Public Library and other city departments, we are targeting literacy resources to the highest-need communities in our city.

Right now, I’m challenging everyone — kids and adults — to collectively read 100,000 books over the summer with my 100,000 Book Challenge as part of Read On Phoenix. As a bonus, the D-backs are throwing in ticket vouchers to get more of you reading as part of the challenge. Also, coming in October, we’ll launch a library card drive with the goal to get 20,000 parents and kids signed up for library cards.

As part of this initiative, Ready to Read workshops and Family Literacy Nights at the library will give you more early reading tools and help your children continue reading in school. After-school programs will also focus on family literacy and getting kids to read outside of class.

And if you love volunteering, I encourage you to get involved in the Million Minute Volunteer Reading Challenge sponsored by the Valley of the Sun United Way to track the time adults spend reading to young children. The Teen Volunteer Program will also enlist 400 teen library volunteers over the summer to create reading programs and increase participation in library events.

Check out all of these great events, resources and much more, at readonphoenix.phoenixpubliclibrary.org.

Read on Phoenix is more than a program. It’s a commitment to rethink literacy and education to make sure every child in this city is reading by third grade. It’s mission critical and the only way to build a strong future economy.

• Greg Stanton was elected mayor of Phoenix in 2011.

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