To the editor:
Educators and policymakers of all stripes will be donning their Cat-in-the-Hat hats this week and reading to young children to celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday. United Way of Brown County Area along with teachers everywhere, is proud to celebrate Read Across America Day on March 1. It's a fun way to celebrate books and reading, but our commitment to early literacy must be sustained every day of the year.
Across the country, two-thirds of our 3rd graders aren't reading on grade level, which means they're four times as likely to drop out of high school later on. And the outlook is even worse for disadvantaged students. A staggering 83% of 4th graders from low-income families don't read on grade level.
We all want opportunity for our children. But kids who don't read well by 3rd or 4th grade tend to fall farther behind, as they start reading to learn. Too many check out, drop out and fail to reach their potential. It's no exaggeration to say that helping kids read well can help us close achievement gaps, increase graduation rates, support our local economy and build a strong community.
Families, schools and communities have to work together. We have the power to change our nation's future if we work together to help struggling readers in elementary school. Teachers can't do it alone. All of us can be part of the solution.
You can read out loud to your child or grandchild tonight. You can volunteer to read to kids at daycares, preschools or elementary schools. You can volunteer as a tutor or mentor, speak up at your local school board meeting, or sponsor a child through Imagination Library.
Take action. Because change doesn't happen without you.
United Way of Brown Co. Area