Did you know that one of the best predictors of high school graduation and career success is whether or not a child can read proficiently by the end of third grade? A recent study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, for example, showed that students who do not read proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely to leave school without a high school diploma than proficient readers. For those who cannot master even basic reading skills by third grade, the rate is nearly six times greater.
This means that the vast majority of Florida children are at a distinct disadvantage by the time they reach fourth grade. Nearly two-thirds – 65 percent – of Florida students are not reading at grade level by the end of third grade. That figure jumps to 76 percent for students from low-income families, and to 83 percent for African American students. Anyone who cares about the future of our state should be deeply concerned by these numbers. Continue reading