We know that children who are successful readers by the end of third grade are much more likely to succeed in school than those who are not: they are less likely to repeat a grade, more likely to graduate from high school, and more likely to attend college. (Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters. The Annie E. Casey Foundation (2010). http://datacenter.kidscount.org/reports/readingmatters.aspx)
The most recent analyses of the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) found that only 34 percent of America’s fourth graders are proficient readers, and that significant differences in reading proficiency exist among students at different socioeconomic and racial groups. Nationwide, 20 percent of low-income and 17 percent of African-American fourth graders achieved a proficient score on the NAEP reading exam released in 2013. In Baltimore, the numbers were even worse: only 14 percent of fourth graders were found to be proficient or advanced readers by the NAEP standards. Among poor children, only 11 percent scored proficient or above.
Baltimore currently ranks 16th out of 21 cities participating in the NAEP Trial Urban District Assessment in 2013. Only 2 percent of City Schools students scored at the advanced level, 12 percent at the proficient level, 31 percent at the basic level and 60 percent below basic.