Only 35% of Arkansas third-graders met the reading readiness benchmark, according to the 2021-2022 ACT Aspire results. A collaborative effort from the City of Little Rock, the Little Rock School District (LRSD), Rotary Club 99 and other community partners hopes to get ahead of this statistic with their new reading initiative, The Literacy Lab. The partnership aims to bridge the gap among children with fewer language skills and provide them with literacy skill-building activities.
Throughout the summer, volunteers from the Arkansas Department of Education, AR Kids Read, LRSD, Rotary Club 99, and other community nonprofits are leading LRSD students in grades 1-5 through reading-based activities and games. These volunteers give students the tools necessary to succeed and meet their grade-level reading goals.
Individuals with low levels of literacy are more likely to experience poorer employment opportunities, develop low self-esteem, and have adverse health outcomes, according to the World Literacy Foundation. Investing in early childhood literacy has great returns in economic, social, and health outcomes.
Thanks to this and other reading initiatives across the state, we can combat the detrimental effects illiteracy can have not only in the lives of these children but our entire state.