Our director recently attended the national conference for the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, where she heard from leaders in other cities who have made a concerted effort to improve 3rd-grade reading rates. As a community lead for GLR in OKC, OKC Metro Literacy Coalition wants to find more ways for coalition members and partners to work together to move the needle to improve 3rd grade reading rates in our community.
Sadly, one-third of students nationwide—OKC included—do not score proficient on reading by the end of 3rd grade.
Since in 4th grade students are generally expected to “read to learn,” those students who are behind in reading skills are at a distinct disadvantage. Statistically, students who have not mastered reading by that time are more likely to drop out of high school and have more limited job opportunities later in life.
As one GLR speaker put it, “Failure to read is both an education and an economic problem.” This is especially true since more than 80 percent of kids not reading at grade level are low-income.
“Every time we teach someone to read by fourth grade, we rescue someone,” said Wilson Goode, former mayor of Philadelphia.
Although schools are responsible for providing effective teaching for all children in every classroom every day, the Campaign for GLR is founded on the belief that schools cannot succeed alone.
GLR encourages communities to focus on the three pillars of school readiness, school attendance, and summer learning to see gains in reading scores.
With the start of a new school year, we can all think of ways we can engage to help a child, a parent, a teacher, a school ensure that ALL children in OKC are on track to read proficiently by the beginning of 4th grade. In the coming months, OKCMLC will be adding more resources to our website with ways to engage in this initiative for our city. In the meantime, you can find some places to volunteer by visiting the Volunteer tab of our website.