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AZ Kids Lag in Reading Proficiency

In a new KIDS COUNT data snapshot released today, the Annie E. Casey Foundations reports that a large majority of children in the United States are not reading proficiently by the time they reach fourth grade – a key predictor of a student’s future educational and economic success. If this trend continues, the country will not have enough skilled workers for an increasingly competitive global economy by the end of this decade.

In Arizona, only 28% of fourth graders were reading proficiently by fourth grade. While this is an improvement from only 23% in 2003, it’s still far below the national rate of 34%.

2013 NAEP scores

Of even greater concern is that the gap between students from higher- and lower-income families in Arizona is among the nation’s highest. Only 15% of 4th graders living in low-income households read proficiently in 2013, while 43% of their higher-income counterparts scored in the proficient level or above.

Arizona can do more to help students score higher in all income brackets by sustaining long term commitments to strategies that have proven to help children read at grade level by the 4th grade. Arizona lawmakers have zeroed out funding for many of these programs in the last five years and children living in low-income households are disproportionately affected.

Check out the KIDS COUNT Data Center to learn more about how the children of Arizona are doing.

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