All children should be reading at grade level by the end of third grade — the time at which reading to learn, and not just learning to read, becomes essential.
Reading well at an early age is essential to later success in education, employment, and life. Students who are not reading at proficient levels by the end of third grade are more likely to struggle throughout their school years, which in turn leads to higher dropout rates and fewer students being college and career ready. Increasing proficiency rates and closing the achievement gap are among the most persistent educational challenges we face. Making significant progress for all children is more likely when families, schools, and communities work as partners to share the responsibility for all children reading on grade level by the end of third grade.