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. This has significant and long-term consequences not only for each of those children, but for their communities and our nation as a whole. If left unchecked, this problem will undermine efforts to end intergenerational poverty, close the achievement gap and reduce high school dropout rates. Far fewer of the next generation will be prepared to succeed in a global economy, participate in higher education or enter military and civilian service.
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. In communities nationwide, the Campaign works within three solution areas proven to move the needle on third grade reading proficiency:
The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a collaborative effort by foundations, nonprofit partners, business leaders, government agencies, states 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 a life of active citizenship. The Campaign focuses on an important predictor of school success and high school graduation: grade-level reading by the end of third grade.
Research shows that proficiency in reading by the end of third grade enables students to shift from learning to read to reading to learn and to master the more complex subject matter they encounter in the fourth grade curriculum. Most students who fail to reach this critical milestone falter in the later grades and often drop out before earning a high school diploma. Yet two-thirds of U.S. fourth graders are not proficient readers, according to national reading assessment data. This disturbing statistic is made even worse by the fact that more than four out of every five low-income students miss this critical milestone.
Although schools must be accountable for helping all children achieve, providing effective teaching for all children in every classroom every day, the Campaign is based on the belief that schools cannot succeed alone. Engaged communities mobilized to remove barriers, expand opportunities and assist parents in fulfilling their roles and responsibilities to serve as full partners in the success of their children are needed to assure student success. View this infographic to learn more about the Campaign’s approach to building a movement around early-childhood literacy.
For more information on the Campaign, please visit gradelevelreading.net.
About the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
Beth Duda, lead consultant for The Patterson Foundation on the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, shares an overview of the Campaign’s communitywide efforts with Bill Church, executive director of the Herald-Tribune Media Group.
The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a communitywide effort in Manatee and Sarasota counties to help all children, especially those from low-income families, succeed in school by ensuring they read on grade level by the end of third grade. Part of a nationwide movement, our region is focused on addressing the most common issues and obstacles that impact a child’s ability to read. We are proud to be part of the over 285 Campaign for Grade-Level Reading communities in the U.S. and two of 16 in Florida.