Reading proficiency in third grade is an increasingly important topic. As the common phrase goes, third grade is the point at which children transition from "learning to read" to "reading to learn." The emphasis on third grade is rooted in decades of research that links reading proficiency in third grade to a child's educational trajectory through high school.
Children who are not proficient in third grade are less likely to be reading proficiently in high school and less likely than their proficient counterparts to graduate from high school. Overwhelmingly, the children not hitting these important milestones come from low-income and racial- and ethnic-minority families. Lower-than-average performance of these students continues to be one of the most pressing problems in Colorado's education system.