It all starts with Literacy.

Want to break cycle of poverty? Start with early reading


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What does it take to break the cycle of long-term poverty that lasts for generations? First of all, it takes finishing high school — and to do that, a child must learn to read at a young age.

One of the greatest predictors of high-school graduation is whether a child is reading proficiently by the third grade, said Patrick Corvington of the Campaign for Grade Level Reading.

“The tragedy here is that by the time a low-income kid is, say, 8 or 9 years old, you can map out their future,” Corvington told an online audience of Innovations for Learning tutors.

The bad news is that about 80 percent of low-income children aren’t reading proficiently by third grade. For African American boys, that rate is a massive 87 percent.

Corvington’s organization is working in more than 140 U.S. communities to improve those statistics, despite the obstacles to learning that children face in poverty: they’re less likely to be exposed to books and vocabulary words, more likely to miss days of school because of illness or family stresses, and more likely to lose their educational gains over the summer because they’re not enrolled in organized summer programs.

He described the reading crisis in a webinar this week. More than 250 Innovations tutors signed on for the program, which also included recognition for the great work that tutors did in the just-finished school year.

Here’s the webinar. Corvington comes in at around the 3:15 mark:

Without the ability to finish high school, young people can’t get a job or hold one, and girls are far less likely to delay child-bearing until age 25 or so — factors that generally seal people in to lives of poverty.

Corvington saluted IFL tutors for the work they do in helping break the cycle.

“So much depends on volunteers taking the time to work with young people,” he said.






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