Only 40% of Charlotte Mecklenburg third graders read at grade level, here’s how to help

Only 40% of Charlotte Mecklenburg third graders read at grade level, here’s how to help
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According to a report from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, in 2014, only 40% of Charlotte Mecklenburg third graders were reading at grade level.

Reading at grade level by the end of third grade is the single most important predictor of success – studies show that 96% of children reading at grade level by the end of third grade will graduate high school.

If you think you’re too young to get involved in issues related to education because you don’t have a child or a child in the school system yet, instead of turning a deaf ear, you should become hyper involved.

The truth of the matter is, turning around complex problems like low literacy rates and failing schools takes years and it impacts the entire district, not just your home school.


Read Charlotte is a local foundation started in 2014 to tackle low literacy rates in Charlotte.

With support from business, nonprofit, education, philanthropic and civic leaders, Read Charlotte has a bold mission to double Charlotte’s third grade reading outcomes from 40% to 80% by 2025 .



“We need to act with urgency, as this issue is very real, very now and will affect our all of our futures in some way, so even if your child doesn’t struggle to read this doesn’t mean you and your family are immune to the problems associated with poor literacy. Read Charlotte is dedicated to the ideal that all children can succeed, but we as a community must come together to address what needs to happen to help them reach their potential.” -Munro Richardson, Executive Director

In addition to support from foundations like Read Charlotte, partnerships between Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools and Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has led to initiatives like the ONE Access program which allows 154,000 students access to books and services using their school identification number. Given that access to books is one of the most important keys to improving literacy, programs like ONE Access are critical.


Improving children’s literacy requires a commitment from the child, family, school and community.

In Charlotte, the reality is, children and families in under-served areas may not have the resources or ability to commit to improving literacy. In these cases, the schools and community must step in the fill in the gap to make the effort whole.

Consider taking some time to learn about how you can help our kids reach their potential by contacting one of these organizations.

Organization & program name

St. Peter Catholic Church  (ReadWriteServe Second Grade Tutoring)

Learning Help Centers of Charlotte (Weekly Afterschool Reading and Summer Enrichment reading)

Read a Book, Earn a Book

UrbanPromise Charlotte (AfterSchool Program & Summer Camp)

Augustine Literacy Project-Charlotte

Freedom School Partners

Promising Pages (Magic Book Parties; Community Distribution Program)

A Child’s Place (STAR (Students Today Achieving Results))

Communities In Schools

YMCA of Greater Charlotte (YMCA – Parents as Teachers) 

YWCA Central Carolinas (Youth Learning Centers)

BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life)

Family Support Network-Charlotte (Books For Babies) 

Charlotte Bilingual Preschool

Ada Jenkins Center (LEARN Works) 

Girl Scouts, Hornets Nest Council (Girls Go Beyond – Community Outreach) 

Mecklenburg County Council, Boy Scouts of America

Charlotte Speech and Hearing Center

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (North Star Reading Partners) 

Reading Partners

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (Reading Buddy; Tutors; Homework helpers) 

Reach Out And Read (Book drives; Creating Literacy Rich Waiting Areas) 

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