7 In 10 Arizona Fourth Graders Read Below Grade Level

January 28, 2014

A new study finds more than seven in 10 Arizona fourth graders are reading below grade level, and the reading gap between higher and lower-income students is growing wider. The Annie E. Casey Foundation also found the reading gap growing along racial lines with African-American, Latino and Native American students posting the lowest scores.

Joshua Oehler of the Children’s Action Alliance said the findings have implications for Arizona’s economic future.

"We’ve got to make sure all children, regardless of race or income status, are getting the support they need to read so we can have a good workforce and attract businesses and you know, start new businesses here in Arizona,” Oehler said.

The report said the first eight years of a child’s life are critical for future learning and emotional development.