The literacy rates among fourth grade students in America are sobering. In a 2014 report1 by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, 66% of all US fourth graders scored “below proficient,” meaning they are not reading at grade level. Sadly, 80% of children from low income families were reading below grade level at fourth grade. Almost half of the children from higher income families in the US (49%) were reading below grade level in the 2014 report (measuring reading scores in 2013).
In a previous report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, they found that children who can read at grade level by the end of third grade are more likely to graduate from high school and also more likely to be economically successful in adulthood2.
According to US government statistics, 39% of 8-year-old Americans cannot read independently.
If a child cannot read at grade level by the end of first grade, fewer than 1 in 8 ever read at grade level again3.
The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) compares countries or economies in reading, math, and science. The latest results, released in December of 2013, showed the US scores were stagnant while 40 of the 65 countries/economies improved overall on the PISA. The US was far behind the leading countries/economies. For example, only 2 percent of U.S. 15-year-olds reached the advanced level in math, while 31 percent of Shanghai students accomplished this feat.
We will add more statistics here in the coming months. Please check back for more information.
1The Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2014). Early Reading Proficiency in the United States. Baltimore, MD: Author. Retrieved from www.aecf.org.
2The Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2013). Early Warning Confirmed: A Research Update on Third-Grade
Reading. Baltimore, MD: Author. Retrieved from www.aecf.org; The Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2010). Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters. Baltimore, MD: Author. Retrieved from www.aecf.org.
3 Seppa, N, (1997). Early intervention is key to mending reading problems. American Psychological Association “Monitor”, 28(6), 24-25.