Whose job is it to teach our children to read?
Parents and teachers certainly have a big role to play, but they’re not alone. Our neighbors, community groups, local businesses, and city government are all part of that village it takes to raise a child and instill the reading skills needed for a happy, fulfilled life. And thanks to Read by 4th, a citywide coalition of community members and groups tackling early childhood literacy, with the Free Library as the backbone organization, we have a clear path forward to making childhood literacy a reality for all of our city’s children.
But there is still a lot of work to be done. Two out of three Philadelphia schoolchildren cannot read at grade level by the time they enter fourth grade. This is a critical juncture in children’s lives. Students who are behind in reading entering fourth grade are more likely to drop out of school and face a range of hardships, including incarceration.
Across Philadelphia, we’re already mobilizing and demanding a different destiny for our children. At City Hall, we’re hard at work making sure more pre-K programs set our city’s kids on a course to a lifelong love of reading and learning. We’re creating community schools that remove the barriers that keep our children from succeeding academically. We’re expanding educational opportunities beyond the classroom for more than 18,000 Philadelphia students who take part in our Out-of-School-Time Programs. Wells Fargo is actively encouraging employees to become reading champions and tutors and cheering on other local businesses to follow suit.