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The list of accusers against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh continues to swell. Also on the Tuesday rundown: Hurricane Florence SNAPs North Carolina to attention on the importance of food benefits; plus a new report says young parents need better supports.

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Reading Between the Lines: Proficiency Report Shows Gaps in ID

PHOTO: A new reading report card has been issued for Idaho's fourth graders. It finds most are reading on grade level, and proficiency drops with income. Photo credit: Deborah C. Smith
PHOTO: A new reading report card has been issued for Idaho's fourth graders. It finds most are reading on grade level, and proficiency drops with income. Photo credit: Deborah C. Smith
January 28, 2014

BOISE, Idaho – There's something to read between the lines when it comes to the reading abilities of Idaho's fourth graders.

Overall, children are more likely to be on track compared to 10 years ago, but the story changes for low-income students, according to a report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation released today.

Lauren Necochea, director of Idaho KIDS COUNT, says children who read proficiently by that fourth grade benchmark are more likely to graduate from high school and be economically successful as adults.

"We have to do more to improve reading proficiency among all kids,” she insists, “while focusing attention on children in families that are economically fragile and who face additional hurdles."

Seventy-eight percent of fourth graders in low-income families in Idaho are not on track for reading, compared to 56 percent in higher-income families.

The gap in proficiency is even wider for children of color in poor families.

The report says solutions include strong investments in early childhood education and targeted programs to help children who have fallen behind in the early years of school.

Necochea points out the Governor's Task Force on Improving Education has set a goal of a 60 percent post-secondary completion rate. Right now, it's 39 percent.

Necochea adds meeting that goal requires sharp reading skills at an early age.

"When all of our students – rural or urban, wealthy or not – are strong readers, Idaho will have a brighter future," she says.

Overall, 67 percent of Idaho students struggle with reading skills in fourth grade.

The Casey Foundation report is a comparison of reading scores from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) in 2003 and 2013.



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