Education
7:00 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Report: Two-Thirds of Kentucky Fourth Graders Aren't on Target in Reading

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Most Kentucky children aren't entering the fourth grade reading at grade level, according to a Kids Count report issued last week.

The gap in reading proficiency between children from low and high income families widened to about 30 percent from 2003 to 2013,  said the report, issued by Kentucky Youth Advocates. That happened in 11 others states.

In all, 64 percent of children aren't reading as well as they should be by fourth grade, the report said. Kentucky Youth Advocates noted that the standard used in the study came from the National Assessment of Educational Progress and is greater than the standard state education officials use to determine reading proficiency. In its state test results released in November, education department said 48 percent of Kentucky elementary students were at reading level.

The reading level for children entering fourth grade is a significant life benchmark, said Robert Cooter, Bellarmine University's education dean, in a statement. "Research has documented that children who read proficiently by the end of third grade are more likely to graduate from high school, are less likely to fall into poverty and crime, and are more likely to find a job that can adequately support their families," Cooter said.

The report also compares Kentucky to the other states.

Here's some of the data broken down in graphics:

The report argues for more support for early childhood education—which, KYA argues, can improve reading proficiency—and more education spending in general.

The report came out the same week state officials released data on how many children enter kindergarten ready for classwork.

(Image via Shutterstock)