More kids are further behind than ever.
The NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) is considered the “Nation’s Report Card” on reading and math, and this fall, the report card for America’s 4th graders is basically an F. Post-pandemic—where many children were forced into remote learning situations and low-income students had challenges with technology and internet access—the reading scores that had climbed slowly since 1992 showed a twenty-five-year plummet. Back to the days before billions of federal dollars and legislative initiatives such as “Race to the Top”, “Every Student Succeeds” and “No Child Left behind” had shown slow progress. 30 months of pandemic upheaval unraveled it all, leaving most of our kids farther behind than ever.
These averages hide a more depressing trend. Children at the top of the rankings “advanced” and “proficient” kept climbing, while struggling readers, particularly low-income children and children of color, already far behind slid even further and faster.
With only 34% of American 4th graders at a proficient level, the lessons are obvious. We need to dramatically and significantly raise reading scores; a goal that has eluded us for decades. We here at Kids Read Now think a few simple things, which have proven to make a difference for our 800 client schools and their kids:
- Get more books into the hands of kids. Poor kids, starting in Pre-K rarely have more than a handful of books at home; while well-off ones will have 100 or more. Books in home raise reading scores.
- The more books a child reads over summer, the more their scores go up. Often by 2-3 months over the short summer break.