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Ceremonies and celebrations are time-honored and immensely effective ways of motivating students to achieve, but they are just the beginning of what must be an ongoing effort. During the National Urban League's Achievement Campaign, many of the activities and events mounted by our affiliates and by other groups focused directly on continued support for students' demonstrated academic success.
As bona fide educators know far better than I, literacy and achievement go hand in glove. Children who proceed through school reading far below grade level face an uphill climb for the rest of their lives. Those distressing NAEP reading statistics that I cited at the beginning of this book underscore why galvanizing communities to promote literacy is an integral part of motivating youngsters to achieve. Urban League affiliates and other groups have gone about it in some novel ways.