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August 3, 2015
Many of us remember when we first learned how to read. Whether it was sounding your way through a simple storybook sitting in mom or dad's lap, or working with a teacher in school learning the way letters form words, you probably did not realize just how important reading actually was to your future.
As it turns out, early childhood literacy is one of the most important predictors of the success that a child will have in school and in life. Up until third grade, a child is learning to read. They spend their time gaining the necessary skills to put together words and comprehend what they are reading. Then, as children enter the fourth grade, they begin to use their literacy skills to learn everything from history to math.
If a child is behind in reading as they enter fourth grade, they tend to fall behind in all of their subjects as they lack the skills necessary to comprehend the curriculum. According to the Children's Reading Foundation, up to half of the fourth grade curriculum can be incomprehensible to a child who is not proficient in reading. This has a major impact on their school success and the rest of their lives. A study from the National Research Council found that you could predict with reasonable accuracy a child's likelihood of graduating from high school using their third grade reading scores! As was discussed in May's quick guide on high school graduation, failure to graduate from high school correlates to drastically lower wages and increased chance of incarceration.
With up to 23% of Larimer County children entering fourth grade behind in reading, this is an important issue to address in our local community. If we can reach children before they start falling behind we can make a huge impact on their future success and productivity.
United Way of Larimer County recognizes how important third grade reading is. Because of this, United Way is committed to keeping kids on track with programs that target early literacy, staying in school, and graduating on time.
Colorado Reading Corps - This week, 25 AmeriCorps members from all over the country start their year-long term of service with Colorado Reading Corps in Larimer County. AmeriCorps Members will be trained to work one-on-one with at-risk kindergarten through third grade children in Thompson School District to help them become better readers. Last year, Colorado Reading Corps served 422 students, helping 93.1% of them show academic progress! This year, with even more members, Colorado Reading Corps is aiming to make an even bigger impact.Colorado Reading Corps is supported by SERVE Colorado.
Readers, Tutors, Mentors - Larimer County has one of the most active volunteer communities in the nation. United Way of Larimer County partners with many local nonprofit organizations to place volunteers interested in helping children in rewarding and impactful reading, tutoring, and mentoring programs. By referring volunteers to programs throughout Larimer County that focus on reading, tutoring, and mentoring, more children will have the opportunity to succeed in school and life.
Give -A contribution to United Way of Larimer County's Smart Start for Kids program helps local children create a future filled with promise and opportunity through programs like Be Ready, an initiative to make sure kids enter school ready to learn, and Colorado Reading Corps.
Advocate -Let others know about how important early literacy is by sharing this information with friends and family. Use the icons below.
Volunteer -Sign up to be a Reader, Tutor, or Mentor to get to connected with a local nonprofit who focuses on early literacy.
Copyright 2015 United Way of Larimer County