Most kids not ready for school

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) – A study by two education groups shows kids aren’t as prepared as they should be to start school.

Numbers released by Ready Set Soar and Learn to Earn at their annual Readiness Summit, show 63 percent of kindergartners in Montgomery County are not considered ready to start kindergarten.

School leaders say the high number of kids not ready for kindergarten is largely to blame for why more than 20 percent of the county’s students are in danger of not meeting the state’s new Third Grade Reading Guarantee, which requires students to pass the Ohio Achievement Assessment Reading Test in third grade or be held back.

“I would say in the very end, it’s because many of them do not start school ready,” says Trotwood-Madison Superintendent Kevin Bell. “That’s why kindergarten readiness is so important.”

Numbers show of the students who are ready for kindergarten 96 percent will meet the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.

We wanted to know what’s being done to get all kids that prepared for school.

“One of the most important things research validates is getting more kids into high quality preschool,” says Robyn Lightcap with Ready Set Soar.

Ready Set Soar and Learn to Earn are trying to double the county’s number of star rated preschools, but that is not all.

“We’d like to see all parents reading to their kids fifteen minutes aloud all the way from birth to third grade,” Lightcap says.

State leaders are already warning about the possible fallout from the state’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee, although they believe it will be better in the long run.

“We’re going to see a lot of kids being retained and there’s going to be pressure to pull back on the Third Grade Guarantee,” says State Senator Peggy Lehner. “This sort of effort is going to be the impetus that makes us stick to our guns and continue making reading a top priority for all of our kids.”

Third graders will take that reading guarantee test this April and May.

Those who don’t pass will have a chance to retake it in the summer to try to avoid being held back a grade.

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