Arkansas PBS > Engage > Blog > Can you read this? Some third-graders can’t. Uh-oh.

Can you read this? Some third-graders can’t. Uh-oh.

  • Posted by
  • Julie Thomas
  • on

Arkansas Grade Level Reading Campaign 

Can you read this? If so, thank the teachers and caregivers who taught you. Unfortunately, the 70% of students who fail to read proficiently by the end of third grade falter in the later grades and often drop out before earning a high school diploma. The Arkansas Campaign for Grade-level Reading believes that not only do schools need to pay attention to this striking fact and take action, but parents and communities need to, too.


The Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (AR-GLR) was launched to ensure that all children in our state succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career and active citizenship. The campaign focuses on one of the most important predictors of school success and high school graduation – grade-level reading by the end of third grade. The campaign’s goal is that by 2020 all Arkansas children will read at grade level by the end of third grade.

Luckily for me, I have always been a reader. I was raised by readers. I read with my kids.  But even so, with a first and third-grader at home, this frightening figure has opened my eyes to how critical it is that they learn to read so they can READ TO LEARN.  By third grade.  Seriously.  
My children’s teachers have 25+ kids in the classroom each and they are for sure not solely responsible for the education of my children.  I had them.  And I didn’t have 25+  – I had two.  I feed them, and clothe them, and love them.  And it’s also my duty to teach them.   

To support parents, communities and schools, AETN has partnered with the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families to present the one-hour program “Raising Arkansas's Readers: The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading” Thursday, Feb. 7, at 7 p.m. It’s a great opportunity to learn how you can help your kids – and the kids in your community – achieve their best. And it’s truly a gift that benefits us all!

Education research recognizes that proficiency in reading by the end of third grade enables students to shift from learning to read to reading to learn and to master the more complex subject matter they encounter in the fourth grade curriculum. Most students who fail to reach this critical milestone falter in later grades and often drop out before earning a high school diploma. 

To help children hurtle these milestones, the Arkansas Grade Level Reading Campaign works to target four specific areas that impact grade-level reading: school readiness, chronic absence, summer reading loss and parent and community engagement.

So here’s the deal:  we can take the time. On our EVERY DAY to do list on the fridge at home (bolded amongst feed fish and set table) is READ. You can encourage kiddos to go old school like us and grab “The Boxcar Children” or “How to Eat Fried Worms,” or you can choose Dr. Seuss for the little ones or suggest Junie B. Jones for your spunky, sassy first grader. Another bonus? Making some uninterrupted quality time with a book and a sit down is one of the easiest ways to show your kiddos you love them.  

TUNE IN:  
“Raising Arkansas's Readers: The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading” Thursday, Feb. 7, 7 p.m.