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Reading proficiency is an important factor in future development, success

Who doesn’t remember reading The Cat in the Hat or Green Eggs and Ham?

Those sweet, simple, lyrical books excited us as children, piqued our curiosity and led most of us on a path to become lifelong, enthusiastic readers.

Vicksburg students at all of its public, parochial and private schools celebrated the birthday of the beloved Dr. Seuss Wednesday during the National Education Association’s annual Read Across America with a Read-A-Bration.

Mississippi First Lady Deborah Bryant joined volunteers from throughout Vicksburg who read to our students who are pre-kindergarten through third graders.

Studies are abundant that show that students who are avid readers earn better grades in high school and college. Those of us who love to read know how much a good book enhances one’s life.

But more importantly, instilling the love of reading in children gives them an amazing leg up in life.

In 2010, the Annie E. Casey Foundation published a KIDS COUNT special report that warned students who don’t learn to read at their grade level by the end of third grade are four times more likely to quit school before earning a diploma.

That study reported that 84 percent of fourth-graders from low-income families — and 84 percent of low-income students who attend high-poverty schools — failed to reach the “proficient” level in reading on the National Assessment of Education Progress.

Public, private and parochial schools here are well aware of the statistics and take reading seriously. That’s a good thing for our students. However, the study also showed how important supportive parents are to making certain their students read at grade level.

If you aren’t sure what you need to do to help your child or grandchild become proficient at reading, please contact his or her teacher. Teachers are prepared to tell you how your support and work with your child at home can help.

Proficiency in reading is linked inextricably to a successful life. Make certain your child is as prepared as possible by simply opening a book and reading.