Education experts agree that in grades k-3 children learn to read. Beyond the third grade, they read to learn. Children who don't learn to read at grade level by third grade, or age 9, are likely to be poor readers and low achievers their whole lives. They are more likely to drop out of school, less likely to get a good job, and at risk for using drugs and other criminal behaviors. Therefore, reading is one of the most important skills our children need to be successful.
According to the latest statewide standardized reading test scores, only 39% of all third graders in Maryland score satisfactorily. While the scores have improved from 30% in 1994 we still have a ways to go. Source: State Dept. of Education, Maryland School Performance Assessment Program (MSPAP)
Reading by Nine & The Sun
The Baltimore Sun, Maryland's daily newspaper and information resource, launched Reading by 9 in the fall of 1997. The Sun's 5-year commitment includes the following support:
News & Features Content
The Sun has put reading in the headline by devoting more than 200 education stories per year to reading instruction coverage.
"Just for Kids" provides children with fun activities, word games, brain teasers and a weekly story to motivate and cultivate good reading habits.
Advice column filled with tips and resources to guide parents on how to help their children with reading.
Newspapers in Education
More than [600,000] Sun newspapers and Reading by 9 Partner tabloids have been distributed to hundreds of elementary schools. NIE also supports state guidelines for reading by providing customized supplemental materials for teachers.
Recognition & Outreach Programs
The Reading by 9 Recognition Program rewards teachers, librarians and parent volunteers who go to great lengths to help children become skilled readers. Nominations are accepted each year from school principals, PTA's leaders, Public Library directors and others. Selected honorees are featured in Baltimore Sun Reading by 9 ad and recognized at an annual luncheon.
The Reading by 9 Champion Reader Program motivates and rewards students in grades 1-3. Area teachers register to receive a Champion Reader kit filled with prizes and materials for a 6-month long, teacher-driven, reading incentive program. Currently 1,000 classrooms participate in Champion Reader!
In partnership with area public library systems, Reading by 9 encourages youngsters to register for summer reading programs at area libraries. Summer Reading in-paper ads lists events and other reading messages throughout the summer.
Reading by 9 has formed partnerships with 6 area elementary schools where 80-100 Sun employees volunteer every school year. Sun RB9 volunteers commit to reading with children at designated partner schools one hour each week. In addition, The Sun sponsors a Parents Night for each school and provides other resources to support reading instruction. The Reading by 9 School Partnership Program serves as a model for other businesses to follow.