Unless you didn’t.
Unfortunately, not every child in third grade is ready to read classic authors like Beverly Cleary, Laura Ingalls Wilder or Roald Dahl or excel in other school subjects. In fact, only 39 percent of third graders in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools are reading at grade level.
Third grade is also the pivotal year in education where students transition from "learning to read" to "reading to learn." Word problems become a core part of the math curriculum and science and social studies are explored at a deeper level.
There are nonprofits in Charlotte working hard to change that statistic and hike our city's literacy rate. Through tutoring programs, one-on-one work with students and parent workshops they aim to bridge the literacy gap. Their work at local CMS schools has yielded positive results with participating students meeting or exceeding their primary end-of-year literacy growth goals.
The Leading On Opportunity Task Force released its findings a year ago and made recommendations to help better the life trajectory of children born into poverty. One recommendation was a call to make the necessary investments to ensure all children in Mecklenburg County from birth to age five have access to quality early childhood care and education.
Research shows that children enrolled in high-quality preschool programs are less likely to repeat grades, less likely to run into trouble with the law, and typically earn around $2,000 more per month as adults than those not enrolled. Additionally, early care and education support Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s current commitment to improve literacy through programs such as Read Charlotte. (Leading On Opportunity’s Executive Summary)
Charlotte has several nonprofits already providing free or low-cost quality preschool options for residents in need. These preschools help get children ready for kindergarten.
“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a tool for daily life in modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty, and a building block of development, an essential complement to investments in roads, dams, clinicsand factories. Literacy is a platform for democratization, and a vehicle for the promotion of cultural and national identity. Especially for girls and women, it is an agent of family health and nutrition. For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right.... Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.” Kofi Annan
By making early childhood education accessible to everyone, all children will be better prepared for kindergarten and by third grade, reading well and that much closer to realizing his or her full potential.
In March, SHARE Charlotte’s Spotlight Series focuses on local organizations working to improve literacy and school readiness in Charlotte. There are organizations that do everything from provide free books, to reading support to free preschool. See who they are and find ways to help. Follow the conversation on social media: #CLTLovesToRead