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California's Reading Dilemma

California is embarking on an urgent effort to improve reading literacy for all children. The stakes are very high: research shows that students who aren’t reading at grade level by the third grade will struggle to catch up throughout their education career. Only 48.5% of third graders tested at grade level or above in English language arts during the 2018-19 school year, before the pandemic stalled all learning. A lawsuit claiming literacy as a fundamental right was settled last year with the promise of extra state funds for the schools where students have the lowest reading scores. In this continuing series, EdSource will focus on the challenge facing California to improve reading and literacy in K-12 schools.