Third grade reading matters. While this critical benchmark is receiving more attention—rates have been trending upward in the region for the past five years—there’s more that needs to be done. Recognizing that early interventions are a better solving mechanism than retention, the Early Grade Level Reading Campaign is dedicated to increasing early reading success throughout Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Our campaign focuses on low-income, high need Cincinnati Public and Northern Kentucky Schools. This focus stems from the fact that more than half of low income third graders miss the third grade reading milestone every year.
The Strive Partnership and the Northern Kentucky Education Council, together with funders and non-profit leaders, are addressing third grade reading through three key strategies: early childhood interventions—kindergarten readiness, summer learning programs, and attendance. The campaign set an ambitious goal for every child to be reading on grade level by 2020.
But it’s not just organizations that play a role in early interventions. The community as a whole has to get behind the goal of ensuring third graders are reading on level. Campaigns through Readaloud.org, Reach Out and Read, and the Public Library are placing a strong emphasis on ensuring that books get into the hands of children. And with 61 percent of low income children without age appropriate books in their home, efforts like this are needed.
66 percent of Ohio third-graders read below grade-level, making them four times more likely to drop out. Getting 100 percent of students reading on grade level is not driven simply by the desire to hit a benchmark; we are driven by our desire to see students succeed in the future.
This guest post was written by Nia Williams, Strive Partnership Fellow. The Strive Partnership is the cradle to career collective impact effort based in Greater Cincinnati.