Authors and advocates want increased funding for childhood literacy programs

Legislation would focus on children up to third grade

BOSTON (WWLP) – Fifty-three percent of Massachusetts third graders are not reading at grade level, according to the organization “Stand for Children.”

Education advocates want the state to pass a bill that would provide grants to schools for reading coaches, summer literacy programs and vision and hearing screenings.

According to a report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, students who don’t read proficiently by the end of third grade are four times less likely to graduate from high school.

Advocates push for program to improve child literacy in state

Authors and education advocates are urging the state to pass legislation, known as the Early Literacy Act, that would help struggling students with reading before they fall too far behind.

“We have really zeroed in on the importance of all children being able to read at grade level by the third grade,” State Rep. Alice Peisch told 22News. “Some of the things that I think we need to do in order to achieve that goal are to have high quality early education programs.”

The bill also includes a grant program to support early literacy for children ages zero to five.

It was sent to a study by the Education Committee.