The High Cost of Low Literacy

February 2018

In 2017, more than half of all Massachusetts third graders did not meet proficiency standards in English Language Arts. Although MA schools top the nation in overall student performance, the Commonwealth grapples with persistent achievement gaps. By the time students reach 8th grade, the gap in reading performance between white and Hispanic students is the second largest in the nation.

Students who cannot read proficiently by the end of third grade struggle to learn through text as they progress through school and life. The cascading effects of third grade reading, including widening academic achievement gaps and social-emotional challenges, extend into adulthood. We teamed up with Stand for Children on this policy brief, which examines the influence of literacy on individual, societal, and economic well-being. The brief highlights the promise of early literacy prevention and intervention to put struggling young readers on the path to long-term success.

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