I’m a reader, it’s a passion. I can never remember a time in my life that I didn’t love to read. So when Kansas City Mayor, Sly James began the campaign for grade level reading I was interested in learning more. This is what I found:
Reading proficiently by the end of third grade is a key predictor of high school graduation, yet too many students – especially children in high-poverty schools and from low-income families – are failing to attain this critical milestone. 74% of students who fail to read proficiently by the end of third grade falter in the later grades and often drop out before earning a high school diploma.
In Kansas City MO, Sly James began the Turn the Page KC
Turn the Page KC is an initiative that seeks to ensure every third grader in Kansas City can read at or above grade level by the time they end third grade. This is a major undertaking considering that, collectively, only 33.8% of our third graders are reading proficiently. Folks, let me say that again: Only 33% of our third graders are reading proficiently. Here is what we know:
61% of low-income children have no children’s books at home.
Poor children hear as many as 30 million fewer words than their more affluent peers.
By age 2, poor children are already behind their peers in listening, counting, and other skills essential to literacy.
A child’s vocabulary as early as age 3 can predict third grade reading achievement.
By age 5, a typical middle-class child recognizes 22 letters of the alphabet, compared to 9 for a child from a low-income family.
Prison cells are built based on predictions rooted in THIRD GRADE READING PROFICIENCY.
Other cities are taking similar steps to help these children find their way out of poverty.
In Sacramento, California, where only 37% of children now read proficiently, the mayor has launched “Sacramento Reads!” with a goal of ensuring that every third grader reads on grade level.
In Louisville, Kentucky, “Every 1 Reads” is a community-wide effort involving 5,000 trained volunteers, reading to young children. Since the initiative started, the number of Louisville schoolchildren reading below grade level has dropped from 20% to 8.5%.
During well-child visits, every pediatric practice in Springfield, Massachusetts is “prescribing” reading, urging parents to read to their young children, and giving the children new books. The doctors and nurses are part of “Reach Out and Read,” a nationwide program that gives out more than 6 million books to almost 4 million children each year, helping them start school with larger vocabularies and stronger language skills.
Parents – read to your kids or even better, find a program in your city and volunteer to read to others.Click here for reuse options!
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