3rd Grade Reading Success Matters

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading


is accordingly focused on helping communities and policymakers promote school readiness and quality teaching, tackle chronic absence, and improve summer learning, as well as engage parents as their children’s first teachers.

       Community Solutions

Too many children from low-income families begin school already far behind. The research also shows that these children are less likely to be read or spoken to regularly or to have access to books, literacy-rich environments, high-quality early care, and prekindergarten programs. As a consequence, these children may hear as many as 30 million fewer words than their middle-income peers before reaching kindergarten. Research shows that such interactions are critical for language development, an important precursor to literacy.

Too many children from low-income families miss too many days of school. Research has found that one in 10 kindergarten and first grade students nationwide misses nearly a month of school each year in excused and unexcused absences. These students can ill-afford to lose time on task, especially in the early years when reading instruction is a central part of the curriculum.

Too many children lose ground over the summer months. Without access to the enriching activities available to more affluent peers, research shows that children from low-income families lose as much as three months of reading comprehension skills over the summer. By the end of fifth grade, they are nearly three grade levels behind their peers.

           Core Strategies

Parents are the first teachers and most important advocates for their children. Research shows that students are most successful academically and socially when their parents are involved and engaged in their learning. Encouraging parental engagement can help turn around the nation’s achievement problems, starting with making significant progress against the milestone of grade-level reading by the end of third grade.

Learning begins at birth and healthy development greatly impacts children’s ability to learn: children who are on track in their physical, social and emotional, cognitive, and verbal development are more successful learners from their earliest years, and they are more likely to become proficient readers by the end of third grade.

The Campaign works with child and family advocates across the country to help assure a seamless system of care, services, and supports from birth through third grade. This includes policy and practice that promotes children’s optimal social, emotional, and cognitive development; improves professional development for the early childhood education workforce, and supports parents as their children’s first teacher and best advocate. We work with state advocacy networks – including KIDS COUNT and Voices for Children – as well as State Early Childhood Advisory Councils to better coordinate and align public, private, and philanthropic investments in early learning.


Half the achievement gap between rich and poor children starts before kindergarten.


One in 10 kindergarten and 1st grade students misses nearly a month of school every year.

Summer Learning

Low-income children lose 2-3 months of reading achievement each summer.

Parent Engagement

Parents are the first and most important teachers in their child’s life.