By Kaitlyn Lionti
Time Warner Cable News

Buffalo, N.Y. -- Buffalo is receiving national recognition for its work to help low-income children become proficient readers. The importance of young learners to Buffalo's future have joined more than 20 organizations in the Buffalo Read to Succeed Coalition, to increase early childhood literacy and third grade reading scores.

Their efforts are making a difference as Buffalo was honored Tuesday as a national pacesetter by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading  It's one of 30 communities across the country being acknowledged for its progress. 

"There's really a commitment here to smart start for the youngest kids, and understanding that we've got to get it right early, and that the mantra 'Invest in early learning early' is really not just a mantra, it's got to be a strategy," said Ralph Smith, managing director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

"Kids learn to read by third grade, and then they read to learn from that point forward. That is central to the academic achievement of our students," said Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading said proficiency by third grade is the most important predictor of high school graduation and career success. so, its goals are increasing school attendance and readiness and decreasing summer learning loss.

Smith said Buffalo is moving ahead of the curve, and is the only community in the state to receive this designation for 2014.

"While Read to Succeed is very proud that 96 percent of our students in classrooms supported by literacy intervention specialists reached benchmark in oral language assessments, we are only benefiting a little less than 10 percent of the kids in the Buffalo Public School district," said Anne Ryan, executive director of Read to Succeed Buffalo.

Ryan hopes the success so far will help Read to Succeed reach more children going forward.

"The Pacesetter recognition is an opportunity to highlight what is working and get support to expand to other high poverty, low-performing schools and family and child care centers in the community" said Ryan.