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Reading Success

The Case for Action

Reading is a critical predictor of high school success - or failure. That’s because children are learning to read until fourth grade; after that, they’re reading to learn.

Students who don’t read on grade level by the time they are in fourth grade typically don’t catch up. In later grades, coursework gets harder, reading becomes more challenging, and those with reading troubles have difficulty coping. This can lead to bad grades, bad behavior, “checking out” from school – and eventually dropping out.

For children to become strong readers, they need a literacy-rich environment. Ideally, their parents and caregivers surround them at an early age with books; use the local library regularly; and read with them daily. Starting in kindergarten, children learn the skills they need to sound out new words and find meaning in written text. By third grade, they may be reading chapter books to their parents, and are hopefully developing a love of reading that promotes future learning. By fourth grade, their strong reading skills are supporting increasingly harder academic work.

Reading skills build a strong foundation for academic success and high school graduation. These successful readers will better understand the world around them, and will be able to use those skills to succeed in a demanding workplace and to be a fully engaged citizen.

The video below, from the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, illustrates the importance of early education and reading on grade level in third grade. United Way of Elgin is committed to giving the children of our community the best possible future.

Reading Success Programs/Initiatives