The initiative aims to bring together city, business, faith based, and non-profit leaders to improve reading proficiency among Jacksonville students. You can find out more about it and how you can get involved at www.readitforwardjax.com. You can read a few news stories about the initiative at Jacksonville.com, Action News and News 4 Jax.
In support of the initiative, the Jacksonville Public Education Fund on Monday released a policy briefing on Duval students' reading proficiency. It found that third grade, when students first take the FCAT, is a critical tipping point.
For students to stay on grade level in reading throughout their school careers, they must be above grade level in third grade, the report found. And among those who were not proficient, the deficits were most likely to be addressed in fourth or fifth grade.
The takeaway message is this: Focus on literacy in children's early years is key. And it will take a community effort to achieve that.