The Issue

There is a significant literacy crisis in America today. Twenty-five million children in the U.S. cannot read proficiently (Based on an analysis of NAEP test scores).

Many recognize there are issues around literacy, but do not see it as the massive, systemic and generational problem that plagues our society as these children grow and enter adulthood: 



Get Your State Statistics

Get your specific state literacy facts from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) based on fourth grade reading performance to support your advocacy and community literacy efforts (click on a state below).

Despite a decline in student reading scores, RIF continues to advocate for children's literacy. Read our blog from President & CEO Alicia Levi.

For additional information please visit the NAEP website.

Literacy Insights

The children’s literacy landscape is constantly changing and evolving. Below please find articles, research and news to help keep you updated and informed.


New Research Report from Curriculum Associates: More Students Are Starting the School Year Behind

Data shows the pandemic is not affecting all students in the same way or to the same degree

Netflix's Bookmarks Is the Reading Rainbow For a Whole New Generation

Airing on September 1, Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices is a new Netflix show that celebrates children's books written by Black authors, about the Black experience.

Virginia School District Will Use Drones to Deliver Summer Reading

When Montgomery County Public Schools in southwestern Virginia transitioned to remote learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the district used school buses to deliver daily meals—and reading material—to students’ homes.

With COVID-19, The African-American Literacy Crisis Will Get Much Worse

A 2017 report by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) found that just 18 percent of Black eighth-graders reach reading “proficiency.”

What Kids Are Reading

This annual report aggregates national reading data to provide lists of books kids are reading most in every grade.

NAEP 2019 Top Line Results

Some key points: • Reading performance for both 4th and 8th graders dropped from 2017 • From 2017 to 2019, 17 states showed a decrease in reading scores, 1 showed an increase and 34 had no significant change • 65% of 4th grade students are not reading at NAEP Proficient level in 2019

To Foster Confidence and Motivation in Young Readers, Consider This

This article is part of the guide, What Does Reading Well Look Like?

How Sustained Silent Reading Keeps Students Curious and Engaged

This article is part of the guide, What Does Reading Well Looks Like?

New Study Finds Large Print Books Improve Student Reading Confidence and Comprehension Skills

New research released recently by Thorndike Press from Gale, a Cengage company, shows that students in grades 3-12 who read large print books developed stronger reading skills, felt more comfortable reading and adopted new, positive reading mindsets.

The Path to Fluent Reading: A Developmental Timeline

Some of the most important pre-literacy skills begin in infancy. This timeline shows examples of the milestones children meet on their path to fluent reading.

How My Struggles as a Student Led to Success for My Reluctant Readers

This article is part of the upcoming guide, What Does Reading Well Look Like?

7 Ways to Get Teens Reading in a Smartphone Culture

This article is part of the guide, What Does Reading Well Look Like?

No, Your Kid Shouldn’t Get a Gold Star for Reading

To raise a lifelong literature lover, make it fun, not work.

States Are Ratcheting Up Reading Expectations For 3rd-Graders

Changes in education policy often emanate from the federal government. But one policy that has spread across the country came not from Washington, D.C., but from Florida.

How to Raise a Reader

From the moment you’re expecting your first child, you are bombarded with messages about the importance of reading. For good reason: The benefits of reading at every stage of a child’s development are well documented. Happily, raising a reader is fun, rewarding and relatively easy.

Supercharged Read-Alouds

Teacher led read alouds are a powerful instructional activity.

Advocating for Children’s Rights to Read Manual

Children deserve access to the education, opportunities, and resources needed to read. Be an advocate for every child, everywhere. ILA's new advocacy manual includes not only a questionnaire to help you critically examine your own and your community's literacy practices but also targeted action items and concrete steps you can take to accomplish those goals.

Scholastic Survey Reveals Large Drop in Reading Between Ages 8 and 9

Scholastic released the results of its Kids and Family Reading Report, a biennial national survey of children and parents reading habits and attitudes toward reading and books.

We Have a National Reading Crisis

If your district isn’t having an “uh oh” moment around reading instruction, it probably should be.

Motivating Students With Book Choice

Letting students choose books to read helps them develop a sense of autonomy and ownership over their learning.

Why Millions Of Kids Can't Read And What Better Teaching Can Do About It

Jack Silva didn't know anything about how children learn to read. What he did know is that a lot of students in his district were struggling.

The Power and Promise of Read-Alouds and Independent Reading

Recent research shows that reading is on the decline in the United States; in a 2014 survey, only 17% of students ages 6 to 17 reported daily in-school independent reading.

Why We All Need to Start Reading Aloud to Our Kids

In this talk, researcher Keisha Siriboe shares insightful learning behaviors that parents, educators, and concerned adults can apply within their lives as well as in the lives of children.

Report on Home Literacy Activities

Comparison of 1999 and 2016 NCES

Children’s Access to Print Material and Education-Related Outcomes

Reading Is Fundamental contracted with Learning Point Associates to conduct an objective and rigorous research synthesis on the impact of print access on children’s attitudes, motivations, reading behaviors, emergent literacy skills, and academic achievement.
Source: Learning Point Associates.