Amidst New Concerns about Students' Third Grade Reading Skills, SPARK's Results Loom Larger
A new national study released on April 8th by the Annie E. Casey Foundation raises concerns about the relationship between third grade reading skills and high school graduation.
The report, Double Jeopardy: How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation finds that children who do not read proficiently by the third grade are four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma than their peers.
The report's findings underscore the growing importance of SPARK Ohio
. Now in seven Ohio counties, SPARK (Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids) emerged from a multi-year initiative funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in partnership with the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton.
SPARK helps children get ready for kindergarten by building reading, language, and social skills, and seeks to create a seamless transition into school for children ages three to six.
Results of a longitudinal study on SPARK students in third grade during 2009 and 2010 were released by Dr. Peter J. Leahy of the Institute for Health and Social Policy at the University of Akron on April 12th. SPARK children are outscoring comparison groups on third grade reading on the Ohio Achievement Assessment (OAA) with effect sizes that indicate a substantial difference in performance.