Goal: Ensure Third-grade Reading Success

Being successful in school is the foundation for success in life. To be successful in school, a child must reach the critical benchmark of reading at grade level by the end of third grade.

In our partner school districts, there are approximately 12,000 students grades K-3 who are not reading at grade level.1

Children learn to read through third grade. After that, they read to learn.

Community Issues

  • In Minnesota, only 63 percent of low-income students pass the MCA-II reading test, in contrast with the 88 percent pass rate of their higher-income counterparts.2
  • In Minneapolis and St. Paul, less than 50 percent of low-income children are reading at grade level in third grade.2
  • By third grade, a child’s grades and absenteeism rates can predict whether he or she will complete high school;3 nationally, each graduate saves the public $209,000.4
  • If a child is behind at this pivotal point, the achievement gap can increase, causing additional academic, social and emotional problems. Ensuring educational success in the early years is one of the most important pathways out of poverty.

Our Response          Our Results


  1. Minnesota Department of Education enrollment data and MCA-II reading test data for 2009-2010 school year.
  2. Minnesota Department of Education, 2009
  3. Hope at Last for At-Risk Youth (1994) Dr. Robert Barr
  4. Henry M. Levin, 2009, The Economic Payoff to Investing in Educational Justice, Educational Researcher Magazine