Letter to the editor — March 5, 2019

Few people would disagree that learning to read is important, but just how important is it? Research shows that children who don’t read at grade level by the time they enter fourth grade are four times less likely to graduate from high school and two-thirds more likely to end up in poverty or jail. With 63 percent of Kansas fourth-graders not reading at grade level, our state’s future economic viability is at risk.

There’s a direct connection between children’s literacy, graduation rates and health outcomes. Lower education levels result in lower socioeconomic status, which means increased levels of tobacco use, higher obesity rates and lack of health insurance coverage. 

That’s why the Kansas Health Foundation recently launched Can’t Wait to Read, a statewide campaign which encourages parents and caregivers to read as early and as often as they can to their children.

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