Reading proficiency by third grade is the most important predictor of high school graduation and career success. In fact, studies prove that children without reading skills by end of third grade are four times less likely to graduate high school. When poverty is added, they are thirteen times less likely. That poses a serious challenge for schools who are serving large populations of low-income students.
Through a collaborative initiative funded by the Children’s Services Council, that draws together Big Brothers Big Sisters, St. Lucie Public Schools and “ordinary citizens”, our community is meeting that challenge. Local residents who are willing to obtain the training needed to tutor K–3 students in reading in schools or afterschool programs are working to provide struggling readers with more opportunities to read using research-based tutoring methods—helping improve student reading levels and ultimately increasing their chances of long-term educational success.