High School Dropout Rate Strongly Linked to Third Grade Reading Level

If your child isn’t proficient in reading by the third grade, it’s time to worry. According to a recent report, children are four times more likely to drop out of high school if they haven’t mastered their expected literacy level by the third grade.

The study, released by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, also found that roughly 16 percent of children that have trouble reading by the third grade will not graduate on time.

The third grade is an important milestone in reading because in those first three grade-school years the emphasis is placed on learning to read.

“We teach reading for the first three grades and then after that children are not so much learning to read but using their reading skills to learn other topics,” Donald J. Hernandez said, the study’s author. “In that sense if you haven’t succeeded by 3rd grade it’s more difficult to [remediate] than it would have been if you started before then.”

Additionally, the report found strong links between inadequate reading skills, increase high school dropout rates and poverty.

The study had these two poverty-related findings:

  • “Overall, 22 percent of children who have lived in poverty do not graduate high school, compared with 6 percent who have never been poor. And 32 percent of students spending more than half their childhood in poverty do not finish high school on time.”
  • “For children who were in poverty at least one year and who were not reading proficiently in third grade, 26 percent didn’t graduate on time — more than six times the rate for all proficient readers.”

This study really hits close to home with me, not because I was raised in a poor home, but because I struggled with reading until I was in the fourth grade. It took a teacher willing to donate her after-school hours to tutor me. By the time I reached the sixth grade, I was reading at a college level.

I know teachers dedicate so much time to their school districts. However, if they could stay just an extra hour a week to help out a struggling child, they would make a world of difference.

Do you know of any teachers that have made a difference in your life? Comment below and tell us about your experience.

Via The Augusta Chronicle and The Huffington Post

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