The Campaign is a collaborative effort by foundations, nonprofit partners, states and communities across the nation to ensure that more children in low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career, and active citizenship. The Campaign focuses on the most important predictor of school success and high school graduation—grade-level reading by the end of third grade.
Reading proficiency in 3rd grade is the most important predictor of high school graduation and career success. Nationally, 2/3 of children and 80% of low-income children are not reading proficiently by the end of 3rd grade. This has significant and long term consequences not only for each of those children but for their communities and our nation as a whole.
Regular school attendance is critical to individual and classroom academic success. Research has found that one in 10 kindergartner and first grade students nationwide misses nearly a month of school each year in excused and unexcused absences.
We know from more than 100 years of research that young people lose skills they’ve learned in math and reading over the summer without practice. What we’ve learned is that while their middle- and higher-income peers continue to make slight gains in reading skills in the summer whether or not they attend a program, low-income youth lose two to three months of their reading skills without regular practice.
-Sarah Pitcock, National Summer Learning Association.
Many children from low-income families begin school already far behind. The research also shows that children from low-income homes are less likely to be read to or spoken to regularly or 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.