There is a serious reading crisis in Mecklenburg County.
As of today, more than half of the third graders in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools do not read on grade level.
Third grade is a critical turning point in a student’s life. From then on, fundamental skills a child has learned are increasingly used across disciplines like social studies, science and math. 96 percent of students who read on grade level by third grade will graduate high school; students who don’t will often struggle to catch up. Those who are behind in reading at the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.
It’s with this in mind that the UNC Charlotte College of Education became involved with Read Charlotte, the community-wide initiative to double the number of CMS third graders reading on grade level by 2025.
Dean Ellen McIntyre was part of Read Charlotte’s development and serves on its governing board. She said ensuring a child is a good reader by 3rd grade starts at birth, and requires a multi-faceted approach. This includes “health care, positive parental conversations at home, excellent early childhood education, excellent reading instruction, and summer reading programs so children do not lose what is learned over the summer,” Dean McIntyre said.
The 5.5 million dollar Read Charlotte initiative brings together leaders from the public and private sector. Businesses and philanthropic organizations have already pledged 80% of the funding for the program; public organizations, including UNC Charlotte and CMS, will supply in-kind support. The College of Education will provide Read Charlotte a doctoral student to serve as a research assistant for three years. Bank of America and Wells Fargo are two of nine organizations providing the initial $4.6 million for the initiative.
The College of Education developed a series of videos and these tips for parents to support efforts to improve early literacy in Charlotte.
Your child is learning to read every day, help them get there a moment at a time.