Insufficient vocabulary, comprehension and literacy skills negatively impact children for the rest of their lives. Once a child falls behind in language development, it is very difficult for him to catch up after 3rd grade. That’s why it’s so alarming that 65 percent of Georgia 3rd graders lack necessary vocabulary and reading comprehension skills. This causes a ripple effect that dramatically impacts the future of our state and nation.

Nearly three-quarters of children who are poor readers in 3rd grade remain poor readers throughout high school1. These children are more likely to drop out of school and struggle to ever find self-sustaining employment.

In Georgia, the unemployment rate for people with less than a high school diploma is 15%3. That’s a staggering number. The median annual income for a high school dropout is less than half of that of someone with a bachelor’s degree or higher1. Military service is even off the table for those with insufficient literacy skills. 75% of 17-24 year olds in this country can’t meet minimum requirements for military service3.

Inability to find employment has long-term implications:

  • Two-thirds of children who can’t read proficiently by the end of 4th grade will end up incarcerated or on public assistance2
  • 85-percent of all children involved in the juvenile justice system are functionally illiterate2
  • 90-percent of welfare recipients are high school dropouts2

The economic impacts of statistics like these are devastating.

Studies show that for the United States to remain globally competitive we need 60-percent of our population to obtain a post-secondary degree by 20251. To achieve this we must act now to give teachers, parents, families and caregivers the tools and motivation to build language, vocabulary and comprehension skills in young children, improving the literacy rate in Georgia and across the country.

Programs like Read Right from the Start provide support and encouragement to administrators, teachers and parents. With the right resources in the classroom and at home, we can create positive change and keep our 2020 Promise to Georgia’s children.

Visit these resource pages for teachers to start training with Read Right from the Start or for parents to encourage the use of Read Right from the Start in their children’s schools.

Statistics courtesy of:

1Annie E. Casey Foundation

2Begin to Read

3Get Georgia Reading.