Intervention is Key to Third Grade Literacy


Young ReaderTransform Consulting Group is sharing updated research from the Annie E. Casey Foundation that underscores the urgency of ensuring that children develop proficient reading skills by the end of third grade, especially for those living in poverty. The Early Warning Confirmed report further supports the link between reading deficiencies and broader social consequences, including how living in poor households and high-poverty neighborhoods contribute to racial disparities in literacy skills in America and how low achievement in reading impacts an individual’s future earning potential. Third-grade reading proficiency is crucial to breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

The report also identifies the key factors in reaching the goal of third grade literacy, many of which can be successfully addressed by local organizations serving children, families and communities, as well as by traditional schools. Improvements in educational outcomes produced a long-term return to society of $8.24 for every dollar invested during the first four to six years of school, including prekindergarten. These key factors in successful outcomes include:

  • school readiness
  • regular attendance at school
  • summer learning opportunities
  • healthy, unstressed families
  • high-quality teaching in schools, homes and communities

Indiana, like many other states, requires that if a child cannot pass the reading portion of ISTEP+ standardized test in the third grade, that child must be retained unless an exemption applies.

However, the Early Warning report indicates that neither passive social promotion nor mandatory retention is a good policy strategy. Instead, individualized intervention programs for children who are at risk of being retained can substantially increase their academic achievement.

Transform Consulting Group can provide research like this that validates a best practices approach for the specific needs of an organization. Most recently, Transform Consulting Group utilized this information to help United Way of Central Indiana expand and enhance its readUP literacy-tutoring program through securing a $260,000 AmeriCorps grant. Contact Transform Consulting Group today to learn how we can help your organization frame both problems and solutions in a data-rich, evidence-based context.