Initiatives to support reading proficiency help children succeed. Building strong reading skills in elementary school is essential. In upper elementary, the focus shifts from learning to read to reading to learn. Students not reading at grade level by this point often struggle to grasp new concepts and fall behind their peers. Difficulties in school are only compounded as a student progresses and is expected to read and understand more difficult concepts. Reading below grade level is linked to increased likelihood of dropping out. Developing strong reading skills at an early age increases a student’s chances of completing high school and college.

Whittier Elementary in Muskogee, OK used a Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Champions Grant to update their school library. They created a rich learning environment with a variety of age-appropriate and enjoyable books. Access to a wide variety of books increases students’ interest in reading and helps develop strong reading skills.


Study Cited: The Progress of Education Reform: Pre-K-12 Literacy, State of the Nation. Education Commission of the States, Dec. 2011. Web.