3rd Grade Reading Success Matters

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

Healthy Readers

Now Available: Resource Guides for Children’s Health and Learning Priorities

We know that learning begins at birth, and that 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. The Healthy Readers Initiative of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading focuses on strategies to ensure that children from low-income families are in good health and developing on track at four key milestones in their development from birth through third grade: Born Healthy, Thriving at Three, Ready at Five, and Present and Engaged in the Early Grades.

At every age and stage of development, children from low-income families often receive less, and lower-quality, health care and services. As a result, they experience poor health at higher rates than children from higher income families. For example, they have:


  • Higher rates of developmental delays and disabilities related to learning, which affect their school readiness;
  • Higher rates of asthma that affect their school attendance; and
  • Fewer opportunities for high-quality nutrition especially during the summer. Since poor nutrition affects learning, such missed opportunities can contribute to summer learning loss.

These health disparities—differences in health that favor children from more advantaged families—are reflected in lower levels of reading proficiency for children from low-income families.

The Campaign has developed a draft “Starter Kit” to help Sponsoring Coalitions within the Grade-Level Reading Communities Network identify important children’s health issues and integrate strategies that address them into their work to improve grade-level reading outcomes.

This resource includes examples of effective approaches to meeting children’s health needs in communities, including:

  • Ensuring Health Coverage and Family-Centered Medical Homes
  • Expanding Oral Health Services
  • Providing Screening for On-Track Learning: Developmental Screenings and Screenings for Hearing, Vision and Lead Poisoning
  • Improving Nutrition and Physical Activity
  • Creating Safe and Healthy Home Environments

These approaches will help Sponsoring Coalitions to implement community solutions to improve School Readiness, School Attendance, and Summer Learning so that more children are proficient readers by the end of third grade.

The Campaign will continue to work with national partners and Sponsoring Coalitions in the GLR Communities Network to help develop specific solutions targeted to the needs in each local community. 

Please read Health Care Crucial for Kids’ Reading, a commentary piece about the connection between health and reading,

For more information, please contact Jeanne Jehl, Healthy Readers Team Leader: jeannejehl@gradelevelreading.net