What the Research Says about 3rd Grade Reading Proficiency

Children who read on grade level by the end of third grade are more successful in school, work, and in life. This KIDS COUNT special report affirms a commitment by the Casey Foundation to help ensure that all students are proficient in reading by the end of third grade and help narrow the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged children. An update in 2013 confirms Early Warning’s premises, as it heightens the sense of urgency around third-grade reading proficiency.

A national study released in April 2011 and updated in March 2012 shows that students who do not read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma than proficient readers. Poverty compounds the problem: Students who have lived in poverty and don’t read well are 13 times more likely to drop out or fail to graduate on time than their more affluent peers.

Read the Reports

Fiester, Leila. Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters, The Annie E. Casey Foundation. May 2010.

Fiester, Leila. Early Warning Confirmed, Annie E. Casey Foundation. June 2013.

Donald J. Hernandez, Double Jeopardy: How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation. Annie E. Casey Foundation, April 2011.