Arizona students outpacing national average in reading deficiency

Oct 22, 2014, 6:00 AM | Updated: 6:00 am

PHOENIX — New statistics show a higher average of Arizona elementary school students are showing up to school underprepared than in the rest of the country.

According to Nemours BrightStart, which helps students with reading skills, roughly two out of every five fourth-grade students in Arizona are far below where they should be in reading ability.

“About 40 percent of fourth graders are scoring below basic in their reading skills and probably 70 percent or more are below grade level at the start of fourth grade in their reading skills,” said Doctor Laura Bailet, operation vice president of Nemours BrightStart.

Those numbers are outpacing the national average of students who are struggling with reading, but Bailet said it’s still a problem nationwide.

“We have similar trends really all over the country,” she said.

Reading ability is closely linked to a student’s success according to Bailet, and she said parents, schools, and child health organizations need to work to intervene on struggling students.

“Once a child is significantly behind in reading, it becomes harder and harder to catch up,” she said. “So, most of those fourth graders who are struggling readers will continue to be struggling readers through high school and beyond.”

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Arizona students outpacing national average in reading deficiency