A new study reveals that the level of reading skills children develop by third grade may indicate their likelihood of graduating high school.
Released by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the report found that students who don't read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma when compared to proficient readers. The number rises when those kids also come from poverty.
Donald J. Hernandez, the study's author, said third grade is a pivot point, reports Education Week:
"We teach reading for the first three grades and then after that children are not so much learning to read but using their reading skills to learn other topics. In that sense if you haven't succeeded by 3rd grade it's more difficult to [remediate] than it would have been if you started before then."
According to the report, 6.2 million young people dropped out of school in 2007. To turn the tide, educators, politicians and researchers are looking for ways to prevent dropouts from leaving school.
With the report's findings, increased efforts to help the nation's youngest pupils master reading may be one way to reduce dropouts.
Read the full report.