EARLY GRADE LITERACY
Research is clear that students who do not read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school than proficient readers. And it’s easy to see why. As students progress through their educational career, a critical transition occurs around the third grade. While up until that point children are learning to read, after third grade they begin to read to learn. And if students aren’t reading at grade level, they are already behind.
That’s why United Way helps children in targeted elementary schools become proficient readers by the end of third grade by providing young learners with the books and resources appropriate for their reading level in their classrooms and at home. We connect them with committed volunteer readers who spend time reinforcing classroom curriculum, and we increase the professional skills of educators, providing them with the tools and training they need to help our children succeed.
“The bottom line is that if we don’t get dramatically more children on track as proficient readers, the United States will lose a growing and essential proportion of its human capital to poverty, and the price will be paid not only by individual children and families, but by the entire country.” –Early Warning: Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters; Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2010