Educators and researchers have long recognized the importance of mastering reading by the end of third grade.Third grade is an important pivot point in a child’s education, the time when students shift from learning to read and begin reading to learn. Students who fail to reach this critical milestone often falter in the later grades and drop out before earning a high school diploma (Hernandez, 2011.)
Aligning with the Strategic Plan of Polk County Schools, the goal of the Polk Vision Literacy Team is to increase student literacy proficiency. In order to support families in understanding how to assist their students in improving reading and comprehension, the Literacy Team chose to produce a Literacy Directory as a component of its tactical plan. The focus for the 2016-2017 school year was to research and make connections with literacy program providers across Polk County.
LITERACY IN THE EARLY GRADES
Nationally, one in six kids who are not reading proficiently in third grade fail to graduate from High School on time, four times the rate for children with proficient third-grade reading skills. (Hernandez, 2011)
Unfortunately, 47% of Polk County Schools 3rd Grade students last year failed to read at grade level – 5 % lower than the state average.The Literacy Directory will promote a more literate community by providing information about resources available for students and their parents. Directory content will encompass activities, programs or services related to reading, writing, communication, technology, speaking, performance, and related topics.