Becoming a top 10 state in reading

Reading is at the heart of learning. A student who can read well has a critical tool to excel. Research shows that a child’s reading performance in third grade is associated with their future likelihood of graduating from high school and attending college. In one study, college enrollment was fewer than 20% among students who read below grade level in third grade (Reading on Grade Level in Third Grade: How is it Related to High School Performance and College Enrollment, Annie E.Casey Foundation, 2010). Being able to read at grade level by third grade means a child is better equipped to progress through their education.

Reading Goal Utah should be among the top 10 states in the country when it comes to students knowing how to read. That’s our goal in the 5-year plan. Where are we now?

Utah fourth grade students tied for 22nd with states like Kansas, Nebraska, Montana, and Rhode Island on the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading test. Eighth grade students tied for 13th with Idaho and Kentucky.

Less than half of Utah students in grades 3-11 scored at the proficient level or above in English/Language Arts on the pilot administration of the new SAGE tests. We can do better.

Strategies to Improve The 5-year plan addresses these with the following strategies: K-3 reading curricula, teacher collaboration and professional learning communities, and programs that support school readiness for at risk students, including pre-K and optional full-day kindergarten for these specific groups.

Reading for Future Success Literacy skills at every grade level are a crucial determinant of a child’s lifetime academic, economic and social achievements. Adults with higher levels of literacy and education are less likely to be unemployed or earn an income below poverty level (Kutner, N., Greenberg, E. Jin, Y., Boyle, B. Hsu, Y., and Dunleavy, E., 2007. Literacy in Everyday Life: Results from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy).

The ability to read unlocks doors of opportunity on a variety of levels. Though seemingly simple, it is one of the most important skills for a student to gain.