EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)- Reading and writing are some of some of the basic skills kids should have before they step foot in the classroom. But for part of the population, hitting those learning milestones can be harder to do.
A policy report out today from the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that only 19 percent of low-income third graders have the skills that they should have for their age.
A program in the works in our area hopes to have all kids enter school ready to succeed.
The United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley says it saw the need to start the Successful Children’s Network to help children living in poverty get the same opportunities as kids from higher income families.
“Birth to five is a critical age regardless of your socioeconomic status,” United Way Executive Director Jan Porath said.
From ABC’s to 123’s there's a lot for kids to learn before they start kindergarten, but for kids living in low income households, school readiness can get lost in the shuffle.
“Only 48 percent of our nation’s poor children are ready for school at age five and that's compared to 75 percent of children coming from high income levels,” United Way marketing director James Peters said.
Peters says over the past four years they've been working to close the gap in learning between the rich and poor.
“You see how many of our kids just in this area are in jeopardy of not reaching school at the same level as their fellow students.” Peters explained. “They are already disadvantaged and they have a lot more to catch up so that's where programs like the Successful Children’s Network are trying to even the scales for these children.”
Peters says through community input and collecting data, the United Way found a need to help low income kids enter school ready to succeed and the Successful Children’s Network was created.
“It is going to be a single point of access for families can call to receive services depending upon on some criteria,” Porath said.
Porath says when the network is fully in place, it could serve as many as 5,000 kids in our area whose families are economically at risk.
“It’s not just about colors and numbers and reading and some of those first numbers and words it’s really a bigger picture than that,” she added.
The United Way says they're still working to get the network up and running, but they hope to have it ready to go by 2015.