The Truth is Out: Early Reading Proficiency Matters

A study just out by the Annie E. Casey Foundation states: “Children who read proficiently by the end of third grade are more likely to graduate from high school and to be economically successful in adulthood.”[i]

So, how are we doing in getting our kids proficient by 3rd grade?  “According to the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data, 80 percent of low-income fourth graders and 66 percent of all fourth graders are not proficient in reading.”[ii]

The article also tells us that in the past ten years, NAEP scores show an improvement from 70% to now 66% of 4th graders not proficient. If you consider that reason for celebration, then we can hope to reach 50% proficiency in FORTY YEARS. As it is right now, every year more than two million children are giving up on reading and therefore are struggling the rest of their time in school.

If you are already familiar with the message of Point to Reading, then you will not be surprised by my comment that what we have been doing in reading for the past forty years has not been working, and will never work. If you will take the time to study the principles upon which Point to Reading is based, you will agree with this conclusion.

I spoke with a university professor yesterday about a topic related to my work with PTR, and asked him if he likes to read. To which he replied, “Very much so.” “When did you learn to read?” I asked. With a confused look, he responded that he didn’t remember, but that it must have been before he went to school. This is the overwhelmingly common response I get to my question. The majority of avid readers learn to read at home…before they go to school. Read the book, Point to Reading, and you will discover the reason this is happening and why 66% of the nation’s fourth graders can’t read well. It is because the natural love of books that they had as young children is lost in the first couple years of school. In most cases, it is lost for the rest of their lives.

This educational report is one more alarm being sounded that there are holes in the ship and it is sinking. When will we, as a nation, stop standing by idly, watching the ship sink and instead pick up a bucket and start bailing? Do you want to know the answer? Are you willing to do what it takes to save reading, education, and the future of this country? Then pick up Point to Reading and go find a child and mentor him beyond proficiency to becoming an excellent student. Go NOW. The ship is sinking, but it is not too late.

PTR cover - for website

Henry Skinner-Larsen is the author of Point to Reading , the PTR Jumpstart Manual, and Point to Reading the Bible. The principles of Point to Reading™ are  based on the belief that our children are smarter than we imagine and can learn way faster than we allow. We can best help our children by building a love of reading in them through a one-to-one relationship. The key is locking in the love of reading while they are still young, and before any number of challenges can steal it from them.



[i]  The Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2013). Early Warning Confirmed: A Research Update on Third-Grade Reading. Baltimore, MD: Author. Retrieved from; The Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2010). Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters. Baltimore, MD: Author. Retrieved from


[ii] National Center for Education Statistics, National Assess-ment of Educational Progress.


  1. […] The Truth is Out: Early Reading Proficiency Matters […]

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