Vero Beach, FL’s Moonshot Moment’s Mobil Reading Lab Travelled Over 2,200 Miles in June, 2017 to Support the Efforts of Grade Level Reading Organizations Working to Improve Literacy for Children.


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The way in which the Moonshot Moment addresses literacy in Indian River County, FL has been so successful that its curriculum is well positioned to be come a model for the country.

It is based around children achieving grade-level (90%) reading by the end of third grade, which is also the mission of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, a collaborative effort by foundations, non-profit partners, business leaders, government agencies and communities across the Nation to ensure that more children in low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career and active citizenship.

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For a related article on what is 90 percent literacy by the third grade please click here:

According to Ralph Smith, Managing Director of The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, “An alarming number of children—about 67 percent nationwide and more than 80 percent of those from low-income families—are not proficient readers by the end of third grade.

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading was launched to reverse this potentially catastrophic trend by supporting common-sense solutions at the federal, state, and local levels.”

There are more than 300 communities participating in the Grade-Level-Reading Network. Communities are located all across the country.

Moonshot Moment received a 2016 Pacesetter Award by the National Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (GLR).

Becoming a Pacesetter required communities to complete a rigorous self-assessment and were then identified based on meeting either or both of the following criteria:

Demonstrating population-level, community-wide measurable improvement in outcomes for low-income children in one or more of the focus areas: School Readiness, School Attendance, Summer Learning, Grade-Level Reading.

Demonstrating exemplary work in one or more aspects of the GLR Campaign’s framework for success, scale and sustainability:

Criteria 1: Aligning, linking, stacking and bundling the most proven and promising strategies, programs and practices.

Criteria 2: Integrating efforts to support parent success and address and the health determinants of early school success.

Criteria 3: Driving with data to establish baselines, set targets, track progress, disaggregate for subgroups, create early warning and response systems, tailor strategies, and ensure shared accountability.

Criteria 4: Building cross-sector collaboration, community-wide mobilization and a coalition of local funders committed to achieving the result.

Criteria 5: Prioritizing children and families in public housing and reaching those children who are especially vulnerable (children with learning differences, foster care, homeless, incarcerated parents, dual language learners).

Criteria 6: Utilizing technology to expand reach, mobilize constituencies, improve service delivery and/or streamline operations.

bus-1The Reading Rocket: A Mobile Literacy Lab

The Moonshot Moment Reading Rocket is a colorful mobile literacy lab creating customized, enriched-literacy experiences for children and families in Indian River County, Florida – and beyond! The Rocket partners with dozens of early childhood organizations.

As a collaborative project, the Reading Rocket is a visible symbol of our community’s collective commitment to the Moonshot Moment goal, reaching families across Indian River County. Creating literate, compassionate, and creative lifelong learners who can improve our world is at the heart of this mobile classroom’s mission.

The Campaign for GLR invited Moonshot Moment to bring the Reading Rocket to GLR’s national conference in Denver, Colorado

This was an opportunity to expand Moonshot’s work to a national audience.  They brought along their “Tapestry: A Community Tapestry of Stories” project with them, a project designed to be an arts-literacy community outreach project that other GLR communities could replicate easily.

Ideally, they would like to join together with dozens of GLR communities to display their Tapestries along the Mall in Washington, DC for a national literacy rally.

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One tapestry where a student shared stories of hope.

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And another where a student seemed to share stories of despair.

A Community Tapestry of Stories, is a national campaign designed to bring attention to the nation’s literacy crisis, according to organizers.

Stories are collected from the community and added to a large tapestry that will eventually make its way to a literacy rally in Washington, D.C., and serve as an art installment.

The Moonshot Reading Rocket team traveled over 2,200 miles back to Florida from Denver, stopping in a new Pacesetter community each day to set up a shared “Tapestry” experience in their community.

In total, the Rocket team visited six communities.

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The Moonshot Reading Rocket collected tapestry stories during the week of June 12, 2017 in front of Union Station in Denver, Colorado.


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Over 850 students joined the Rocket Team at the “Turn the Page Kansas City” literacy event held indoors at the Sprint Center.


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Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Sly James with the Rocket team, Marie O’Brien, Bridget Lyons, and Barry Tatem.

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In Birmingham, the Rocket team collected dozens of beautiful, touching stories from staff and students participating in their summer academy.

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This lovely girl through the Rocket bus had specifically included a painting of her.  The “dream” she shared on her tapestry piece was to be the first American girl to go to Mars.

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The Rocket team consisted of Bridget Lyons – the creator of the Moonshot Tapestry project and The Learning Alliance’s manager of arts integration, her husband Barry Tatem, and Marie O’Brien, Moonshot Moment outreach manager.

The team spent the first week in Denver, from June 12-16.  GLR made arrangements for them to park the Rocket across from the Denver Union Station, where they collected Tapestry stories from passersby.  GLR also had two special nights where their participants were encouraged to visit the Rocket to participate in the project.

Then they spent the weekend driving to St. Louis, Missouri for their first big event on Monday in their Sprint Center.

Each event took about 4-6 hours (between setup and tear down and collecting stories) and then they drove most of the way to their next site. Most days, they would have to drive the remaining distance to the site, as the Rocket only travels at a maximum speed of 62 mph and they tried to only drive during the day.

They stayed in Choice Hotels such as EconoLodge or Comfort Inn and had received a $10,000 grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation to support their trip.

As far as we know, Moonshot Moment is the only GLR community with a bus dedicated to being a mobile classroom.  There are many communities who have developed Bookmobiles, however.

The “Tapestry” project was wildly successful, and several other GLR communities will be launching it, with the ultimate goal of presenting all their shared Tapestries in a national literacy rally.

The road trip received significant media attention at each stop; including being on the front page of on June 29, sharing the Moonshot message with the nation!

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The Moonshot Rocket touched down in Vero Beach to a warm community welcome.

“Everyone has a story to share,” said Marie O’Brien, Moonshot Moment outreach manager. “The project asks people to share a dream for the future.



3 thoughts on “Vero Beach, FL’s Moonshot Moment’s Mobil Reading Lab Travelled Over 2,200 Miles in June, 2017 to Support the Efforts of Grade Level Reading Organizations Working to Improve Literacy for Children.

  1. Tom, I have been reading to children and plan to continue. Some of these organizations sound good and maybe I should contact them. Hello from Denmark, and on to Poland, Latvia, Russia, Finland.


    Sent from my iPad


  2. This is amazing; congratulations to the Moonshot bus tour folks for all of your efforts for grade level reading. We know the Learning Alliance is in the forefront and support their mission. Everyone in our community needs to be behind this incentive.

  3. Pingback: A Report on the Achievements of Indian River County, FL’s K-5 Elementary School Education. | Vero Communiqué

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