Third-grade Reading Proficiency is Key to Reversing the "Skills Gap"


How important is reading to the skills gap? It's crucial.

Through third grade, children are learning to read. After that, they read to learn. That is why reading proficiently by the end of third grade is one of the most reliable predictors of future success for children. Students who develop strong reading skills by third grade are much more likely to graduate from high school and seek post-secondary education and training.

The problem is that, if students are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade, they very rarely "catch up." These students are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma. In fact, economists explain that the problem is growing; a nationwide shortfall of five million workers to fill jobs requiring post-secondary education and training by 2020.

Third-grade reading proficiency is key to reversing the skills gap, creating sustainable economic growth, and ensuring that students graduate from high school ready to succeed in the global economy.

A new report from the U.S. Business Roundtable, "Why Reading Matters and What to Do about It," gives more details. The report is the culmination of work by a task force of CEOs who are passionate about this topic and the future of the workforce. It was led by our very own, Dr. Goodnight, CEO of SAS.

This report explains that the demand for more highly-educated workers was actually accelerated by the recession and recovery.

  • Of the 11.6 million jobs added over the last six years, 99% went to workers who had some education or training beyond high school.
  • The remaining 1% -- only 80,000 jobs nationally -- were for those with a high school diploma or less.

The US Business Roundtable is proposing a six-step policy agenda to develop student reading proficiency necessary in today's economy. The focus of that agenda is to ensure children have strong early literacy skills as they enter kindergarten, and then systematically build on that foundation to help all students achieve reading proficiency by the end of third grade.

Reversing these trends is possible by improving third-grade reading proficiency.

To learn more, read Data Management and Analytics: Keys to Maximizing Student Literacy.

This content was reposted from the SAS Learning Post. Go there to view the original.

Georgia Mariani, SAS Principal Product Marketing Manager

Georgia Mariani is the Principal Product Marketing Manager for the Education Industry at SAS.

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Third-grade Reading Proficiency is Key to Reversing the "Skills Gap"

Students who develop strong reading skills by third grade are much more likely to graduate from high school and seek post-secondary education. Economists are forecasting a nationwide shortfall of five million workers to fill jobs requiring post-secondary education and training by 2020.


Re: Three cheers for elevating third-grade reading levels
  • 2/26/2017 5:59:29 PM
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..

Seth writes


@ Lyndon_Henry - Advance reading and comprehension are vital to critical thinking skills.  It irectly affect the way voters consume and decipher information and how they chose their candidates.


 

I agree with Seth, but this may not be what the Trump government has in mind in its disdain for public education and emphasis on private "voucher" schools subsidized by diverting tax dollars.

And the situation wasn't looking so good even before Trump. According to a January 2016 report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities,


Most states provide less support per student for elementary and secondary schools — in some cases, much less — than before the Great Recession, our survey of state budget documents over the last three months finds.  Worse, some states are still cutting eight years after the recession took hold.  Our country's future depends crucially on the quality of its schools, yet rather than raising K-12 funding to support proven reforms such as hiring and retaining excellent teachers, reducing class sizes, and expanding access to high-quality early education, many states have headed in the opposite direction. These cuts weaken schools' capacity to develop the intelligence and creativity of the next generation of workers and entrepreneurs. 


 

And that's when the federal administration still affirmed nominal support for public education ...

..

Re: Not the first time
  • 2/23/2017 10:09:31 PM
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@Seth   Excellent points my friend.  I didn't consider your angle because like you I have always enjoyed reading, but I can understand if a child's initial experience is not enjoyable - it could last a lifetime.   This reminds how very important it is  to introduce reading witht the sense of discovery it deserves - most teachers do a fantastic job of instilling the joy and wonderment of the written word ( with pictures of course ) to children of that age.

On my way to work the other day, I saw a guy waiting for the bus - he was doing of all things - reading a book !    Hardback and all.... I couldn't believe it and I must admit I don't read Hardbacks much anymore - pdf's please.

But that just goes to show how much has changed since the age old art of enjoying a good book was the norm.

Apply this to the present day and as you say we have a serious problem. And I couldn't agree more that Critical Thinking is developed, improved and constantly exercised through the practice.

Thanks for helping me understand comprehension is of little importance at that age - but the joy of reading and discovery is !

Re: Not the first time
  • 2/23/2017 7:25:32 PM
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@ Louis it be at that age if reading is something the child sees as something painful they may well avoid it for the rest of their lives. 

 

Personally, when people tell me they don't enjoy reading I feel like I'm speaking with an alien as I've had a love of reading all my life.  But of course it is not someone's cup of tea.  If they won't read for pleasure they surely are not going to read a news article.  So that leaves the boob tube. 

Re: Not the first time
  • 2/23/2017 2:39:52 PM
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".... reading proficiently by the end of third grade is one of the most reliable predictors of future success for children."

 

Interesting.   While I agree the ability to read is a vital skill.  But by that age how much comprehension is there ?   That is vital as well.

Re: Three cheers for elevating third-grade reading levels
  • 2/19/2017 8:06:57 PM
NO RATINGS

@ Lyndon_Henry - Advance reading and comprehension are vital to critical thinking skills.  It irectly affect the way voters consume and decipher information and how they chose their candidates.

Re: Three cheers for elevating third-grade reading levels
  • 2/19/2017 8:01:55 PM
NO RATINGS

@ James, I'm not a parent but I envision that if I were I would not allow video games in the house or things that distract kids from doing homework.  I think there are so many things today that are pulling children away from the things they they should be focusing on.

 

Re: Three cheers for elevating third-grade reading levels
  • 2/18/2017 2:23:12 PM
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@Terry: On the one hand, I completely agree from a general education standpoint -- and, moreover, the real issue is better and more effective investment in younger grades.

On the other hand, reading comprehension and ability to write is increasingly a vital skill in most jobs -- as well as in life.

At the same time, however, you're still 100% right.  People whose learning styles differ can be targeted with their learning style to bridge that gap and make those skills more accesisble.

Re: Three cheers for elevating third-grade reading levels
  • 2/18/2017 2:08:59 PM
NO RATINGS

Yes, by all means, let's do everything we can to encourage reading. But what about people whose learning style is rooted in a visual language that's not word-based? Or is tactile/experiential? If you force kids through a system they don't fit into, don't be surprised when their tests scores and achievement are crap.

Re: Not the first time
  • 2/17/2017 7:02:58 PM
NO RATINGS

@tomsg: Precisely.  And then college professors/instructors wonder why their students lack basic reading and writing skills!  They blame it on the high schools -- quite unfairly, IMHO.  Those types of problems start years earlier and take years to be fully realized into that sort of masterful failure.

Re: Three cheers for elevating third-grade reading levels
  • 2/17/2017 6:59:00 PM
NO RATINGS

@James: While I am just as dubious and annoyed, to say the least, about what the future holds based on what we're seeing societally where electronics are concerned (I recently read about Elon Musk noting that humans are virtual cyborgs already because of our ever-present reliance on our smartphones), I'm not convinced that there's *that* strong a link here -- at least, when it comes to pure recreational/non-curricular use of screens.

For my own part, I grew up in an age when scaremongers spread panic over kids watching too much television.  I was one of those kids who watched A LOT of TV.  A LOT.

But I still read, I still did well in school, and TV piqued my imagination and -- I daresay -- made me smarter and more educated.  TV also taught me a lot about storytelling (which is an essential skill for the data analyst).

TV is, like books, just another medium.  Ditto for web content.

What made me hate reading?  Teachers.  Teachers assigning too much reading (most of it terrible).  (I had a few good teachers, and occasionally we got good reading assignments, but for the most part it was just a maelstrom of garbage).

Incidentally, to bring this back full circle, there are studies and data that demonstrate that MANDATED screen time in young children (e.g., when the elementary school gives kids iPads and makes them do assignments on them) is linked to a substantial decrease in learning and comprehension.

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