Grade Level Reading

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NLC is a major partner in the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading by supporting city efforts to boost reading proficiency. The Campaign is a collaborative, 10-year effort by dozens of foundations and organizations across the country to increase the number of low-income children who read at grade level by the end of third grade - a key developmental milestone and indicator of future academic success

The Importance of Grade-Level Reading

A KIDS COUNT special report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, "Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters" highlights the academic achievement gaps that develop between disadvantaged students and their peers early in life.

More than 80 percent of students from low-income families do not read proficiently by the end of third grade, putting them at greater risk of dropping out of high school. Students who drop out are in turn more likely to engage in criminal activity, struggle to find work and have low lifetime earnings. When youth do not reach their full potential, the impact is felt acutely in the cities and towns in which they live.

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading has set a goal of promoting grade-level reading improvements in the majority of states and increasing by 50 percent the number and proportion of low-income children reading at grade level by the end of third grade in at least a dozen states over the next 10 years.

The Campaign mobilizes city leaders, educators, philanthropic leaders, service providers and parents to close the gap in reading achievement among low-income students and their peers, raise the bar for reading proficiency so that all students are assessed by world-class standards and ensure that all children have an equal opportunity to meet those standards.