As respected leaders in local communities, business men and women can promote the value of early reading and support programs aimed at ensuring that all students read proficiently by the end of third grade. As business leaders, learn more by clicking each of the ideas below.
Build public awareness of the connection between reading proficiency and a healthy economy. When more Arkansas children read on grade level and graduate from high school, the state’s economy will thrive. A 2013 report found that if Arkansas’s graduation rate increased from 71 percent to 90 percent, 7,200 additional students would have graduated and created significant economic benefits including $81 million in increased annual gross state product and $64 million in increased annual earnings.
Support health screening programs for young children. Problems with vision and hearing, developmental delays or learning disabilities can keep children from learning to read. Encourage businesses and medical professionals to organize programs to screen more children.
Organize book drives and volunteers for a tutoring program. Encourage your employees to promote reading proficiency by donating books or spending time working with struggling readers.
Promote school attendance with incentives and public awareness.
Support summer meal programs. Six out of every seven children who receive free or reduced-price lunch during the school year lose access to those meals over the summer.
Advocate for more resources. Let your local and state policymakers know that you support expanding access to home visiting, preschool, and summer programs so that all Arkansas children can read proficiently by the end of third grade.
Commit to action in your community and do your part for the Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading by taking the pledge.