In its newest KIDS COUNT® data snapshot, Early Reading Proficiency in the United States, released January 28, 2014, the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds that 80% of lower-income fourth graders and 66% of all kids are not reading proficiently - a key predictor of a student's future educational and economic success.
In West Virginia, 73% of all fourth graders are not reading proficiently, and the scores for low-income kids are even worse. 76% of low-income, West Virginia fourth graders are not proficient readers, compared to 63% of kids who are not low-income. In addition, West Virginia is one of only four states, including Alaska, Michigan and South Dakota, that have seen their fourth-grade reading proficiency scores worsen since 2003.
If this trend continues, West Virginia, as well as the rest of the country, will not have enough skilled workers for an increasingly competitive global economy by the end of this decade.