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City of Philadelphia

Why Now?

  • Approximately 45% of children in Philadelphia's public schools are not reading at grade level by fourth grade.
  • The majority of children do not attend quality pre-school programs. Lack of early childhood education is related to poor school achievement.
  • Nearly 80% live with families whose incomes are so low that they are eligible of free or reduced-price lunch. Recent research shows that many such homes contain an average of less than one book.
  • 85% of the children who appear in juvenile court lack reading skills.
  • If students can't read well by the end of third grade, chances for later school success are greatly diminished - including a greater likelihood of delinquent behavior and dropping out of school.
  • Low-achieving readers who participate in programs that involve only an hour of reading daily gain more than 2 1/2 years in reading in one school year.
  • Children from middle income homes enter school having had 1000-1700 hours of one-to-one experiences with books: children from low income families only 25 hours.