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SALT LAKE CITY -- KSL and other Deseret Media Companies will launch an initiative this week that could improve the lives of every Utah child by helping them become better readers.
We're partnering with educators, government leaders, and most of all, we want to work with your family. So we're issuing a call to action -- simply, "Read Today." We want it to become every family's goal.
Few things will make such a difference in your child's life than reading at home. To show you the power of families reading, we paid a visit to kindergarten.
If children are given a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes per day to read books of their own choosing, standardized test scores should increase, on average, 20%.
–R. Anderson, Wilson and L. Fielding (1988).
Ms. Berman's kindergartners are just getting their start in school, but already there is huge gap in their reading abilities.
There are around 40,000 non-proficient Utah readers ranging from kindergarten to third grade. For them, the situation is serious because if they're not reading where they should by third grade, they likely never will.
Utah ranks 29th in the nation for the number of 4th graders that are reading at or above grade level. -National Assoc. of Education Professionals
The likelihood dramatically increases they'll drop out of school altogether.
"That's our goal, is to get as many kids as we can on grade level by the time they leave elementary," says Joellen Shaeffer with the Salt Lake City School District.
There are approximately 40,000 non-proficient Utah readers in grades K-3.
That's our goal, too, at Deseret Media Companies. KSL-TV, KSL NewsRadio, the Deseret News, El Observador, Deseret Book, Deseret Digital Management and Temple Square Hospitality are joining forces to help Utah children become better readers.
"I've spent a lot of time looking into the eyes of kids and having them read to me," says Mark Willes, CEO of Deseret Media Companies. "I couldn't find any who I could look in the face and say, ‘I want to deny you your future.' That means we have to help them learn to read."
Our goals are to support the literacy programs in our community that are already working and reinforce the role parents play in early reading skills.