The mayor wants you to read to a child

In his blog today, Mayor Sly James asked for volunteers to read with children in a city where only a third of third graders read at or above their grade level.

Mayor James

The Turn the Page KC effort works with community partners to find the most effective interventions to help kids read, comprehend and enjoy what they’re reading, he said, and it needs helpers.

“Low-income students lose an average of more than two months reading achievement in the summer, while their middle-income peers tend to make gains in reading,” James said.

He cites other statistics showing the importance of reading:

  • 61% of low-income children have no children’s books at home.
  • Poor children hear as many as 30 million fewer words than their more affluent peers.
  • By age 2, poor children are already behind their peers in listening, counting, and other skills essential to literacy.
  • A child’s vocabulary as early as age 3 can predict third grade reading achievement.
  • By age 5, a typical middle-class child recognizes 22 letters of the alphabet, compared to 9 for a child from a low-income family.
  • Prison cells are built based on predictions rooted in third grade reading proficiency.

If you spend a couple hours a week with a child you can “write a new personal reading story for a child that he or she will remember forever,” James said.

read the full blog post

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