Study Says 77 Percent Of Arkansas 3rd Graders Read At Grade Level

Oct 13, 2014

Authors of a study on the importance of 3rd grade literacy presented their findings to legislators today. They say, according to state benchmark exams, 77 percent of the state’s third graders read at grade level and that’s a pivotal measure of their future success.

The legislative interim study, complied by the Winthrop Rockefeller foundation and Arkansas Advocates for Children and families made several recommendations to the state legislature Monday.  Recommendations including high quality Pre-k and afterschool programs and improved school attendance.  

Andrea Duran is with the Arkansas Campaign for Grade Level Reading. She says she hopes the legislature’s budget committee will consider cost of living changes as it considers funding levels for the state’s Pre-K programs to help kids better prepare.

“Probably one of the most important things that’s new about the study are really just the recommendations we make. So this importance of investing in Pre-K and right now we’ve done a good job in Arkansas of investing in Pre-K. But our pre-k program ABC hasn’t received a cost of living adjustment since 2008, so  it’s really important we help those programs catch up,” said Duran.

The study focused on the importance of 3rd grade literacy proficiency as a marker of kids’ potential to learn in subsequent years.  Andrea Duran is with the Arkansas Campaign for Grade Level Reading.

“Up until 3rd grade, children are still learning how to read and after 3rd grade, everything they’re doing is about reading to learn. And whether or not a child can read on grade level by the end of 3rd grade predicts how well they’ll do in school, whether they’ll stay in school and graduate from high school and go on to college.” Said Duran.

She says in Arkansas, half of children are prepared for school by the time they reach kindergarten. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, only 32 percent of Arkansas 4th graders read on grade level by national standards.