Johnny Key

Commissioner of Education

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R.I.S.E. Spotlight

The R.I.S.E. Spotlight campaign focuses on the second goal of R.I.S.E. Arkansas: To create community collaboration. Literacy is not only for those in education but for all Arkansans. Business and community partnerships are critical to changing the landscape of literacy for everyone. Each month the R.I.S.E. Spotlight will shine on a community partner who is committed to helping every student obtain the reading skills necessary to achieve success in school, thereby giving them the opportunity to have a richer life. 

A partner organization will be highlighted on this page with information about their goals, mission, and projects. Watch for weekly social media posts for more information and ways to make connections with their work. Through this campaign, we hope to create a network of organizations working together to improve literacy in Arkansas.

May 2019 R.I.S.E. Spotlight: Arkansas Children's Hospital

Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) is proud to be a Partner in Education with King Elementary School, located just two blocks from ACH. Employees participate in a variety of activities each year such as judging science fairs and art contests, cheering on students at the King Walk, and providing cooking classes in the afterschool program. Many employee volunteers also serve as tutors for students through MLK Reads, a program coordinated by another school partner, Second Baptist Church downtown. Studies have shown that a student who can’t read on grade level by third grade is four times less likely to graduate high school than a child who does read proficiently by that time. This one-on-one tutoring program is designed to provide extra reading time for students who are reading below grade level so they might improve their skills to reach grade level reading or above.

April 2019 R.I.S.E. Spotlight: Arkansas Literary Festival

The 16th annual Arkansas Literary Festival, April 25-28, 2019, encourages the growth of a more literate populace through an annual event, which is the largest gathering of readers and writers in the state. By bringing together an array of best-selling, prize-winning, and emerging authors, the festival offers Arkansans an interactive opportunity with many talented writers. Additionally, the event features performers, contests, spoken word and open mic events, activities, workshops, book-signings, and more.

The festival is supported by many community partners including the Arkansas Humanities Council, the Department of Arkansas Heritage,  and Literacy Action of Central Arkansas, among many others. Additionally, it places many authors in area schools through the Writers in the Schools program, or WITS, providing a set of 30 books to most of the classes each author addresses. On Thursday, April 25, the festival will provide this year’s Day of Science and Reading at the Clinton Presidential Center and the Museum of Discovery. Students participate in a field trip to each venue and hear presenters. On the Saturday of the festival, at the Children’s Library & Learning Center, hundreds of books will be given away to children and families. For more information, please visit

March 2019 R.I.S.E. Spotlight: Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance

March is School Breakfast Month in Arkansas! This year’s theme is Books & Breakfast = Success. We're celebrating the importance of school breakfast in keeping children healthy, focused and ready to learn. The School Breakfast Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, plays a crucial role in making sure children get the food they need to focus and excel in the classroom. Students who skip the first meal of the day have slower memory recall, make more errors and are more likely to be absent or tardy.

Arkansas has made strides in its school breakfast program, moving from 10th to 7th in the nation for increasing participation. Throughout March, the Arkansas Hunger Alliance is challenging schools to invite community leaders to eat with the students so they can see the benefits of the breakfast program first-hand.

Please see the March is School Breakfast Month Flyer to find out about the exciting activities planned and learn how schools could receive recognition and rewards.

February 2019 R.I.S.E. Spotlight: AR Kids Read


During the 2018-2019 school year, AR Kids Read has been coordinating more than 400 tutors who volunteer one hour per week to read with students at 49 schools in Pulaski County. Tutors work with two students for 30 minutes each with a focus on improving skills in vocabulary, fluency and comprehension. Tutoring begins in October and lasts through mid-March, which gives the tutors time to develop relationships with the students and help foster a love of reading.

AR Kids Read tutors also encourage students to enter a writing contest to share their love of reading. This semester, students enter by submitting a fictional story based on the prompt “A tale of friendship found, tested and treasured” from the back cover of The Monster Next Door. Entries need to be submitted by Feb. 8. For details, visit

To learn more about AR Kids Read, visit
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For more information, please contact:

Lisa Bailey, K-12 Literacy Specialist
Arkansas Department of Education
Four Capitol Mall
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
Phone: 501-682-4377
Suzanne K. Jones, Special Advisor for Learning Services
Arkansas Department of Education
Four Capitol Mall, Mail Slot #10
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
Phone: 501-683-5266
Fax: 501-683-4802
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