Still, the achievement gap is real in Asheville and it is formidable. In 2014, only 25% of black students passed end-of-third-grade reading tests, compared to 91% of white students.
In 2010 the Annie E. Casey Foundation's report Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters, affirmed the urgency of elementary school literacy and underscored the Read To Succeed mantra: Through third grade a child learns to read; After third grade a child reads to learn.
Three years after the original report, the Foundation published a follow-up, Early Warning Confirmed with studies that support a strong correlation between poverty and illiteracy. We knew that a child who enters fourth grade reading at grade level is far more likely to graduate from high school than a student who struggles to read. And now the toxic combination of poverty and illiteracy is quantified:
26% of students who are not proficient readers and have lived at least one year in poverty will fail to graduate from high school.
Read to Succeed literacy volunteers work one-on-one with Asheville students who struggle to read and live in poverty. Last year, 60% of our students completed the school year reading at grade level proficiency.
A huge thank you to our coaches and their hard-working students. What a team they make!
(wearing my Communications Director hat-of-the-day)
Read to Succeed Asheville/Buncombe (R2S) is a local, independent nonprofit on a mission to close the