Closing the achievement gap in second grade is a very real goal for students and teachers in Anne Arundel, Maryland.
Last year, the Anne Arundel County Public Schools system focused on reducing the number of second graders who are reading below grade level. 24 percent of second graders were reading below grade level last fall. That number had decreased to 12 percent by the spring.
Superintendent George Arlotto says that early childhood education is of key importance in closing the gap. “If students aren’t reading well at the end of second grade, then we begin to lose them,” he said. He also stressed that improved reading will help students in other subject areas, including science and history. “It’s the gateway,” he said.
Poverty strips many students of the resources that they need to succeed. Those resources include transportation and books.
Anne Arundel schools launched a $3 million reading initiative. Each elementary school purchased 9,000 books for their reading programs this year.