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Today: Idaho Reading and Literacy Summit

PHOTO: Local and national experts are in Boise today to talk about how to make sure more Idaho children are on track for reading proficiency by the end of third grade. Photo credit: Deborah C. Smith
PHOTO: Local and national experts are in Boise today to talk about how to make sure more Idaho children are on track for reading proficiency by the end of third grade. Photo credit: Deborah C. Smith
November 15, 2013

BOISE, Idaho - Reading competency by age eight is seen as the ticket to success in life and in school. But too many Idaho children aren't making that mark, which is why experts are gathering today in Boise to talk about how to better the odds for kids.

According to Ralph Smith, managing director for the Campaign for Grade Level Reading and the keynote speaker at the Idaho Reading and Literacy Summit, reading proficiency is connected to high school graduation rates.

"The end of third grade is that pivot point where children not only are learning to read, but are also reading to learn," he said.

Those attending the event will explore partnerships to focus on children's earliest years and identify roadblocks that send kids off track.

Smith said that while everyone at the event cares deeply about children, there's a long-term societal view to consider, too.

"We're not going to disrupt inter-generational poverty or help our nation to compete in a global economy if we don't broaden, deepen and improve the quality of high school graduates," he declared.

An Annie E. Casey Foundation report shows that poor children who don't read proficiently are 13 times less likely to finish high school than good readers who have never lived in poverty.

The conference is at Boise State University, Student Union Bldg.

The report mentioned, "Double Jeopardy," is at bit.ly/ISOWMP.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - ID