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San Joaquin County Lags In Student Literacy

University Of The Pacific / File
 

University Of The Pacific / File

Three out of four San Joaquin County students third graders ended the last school year without the reading skills they need. That's the latest finding from University of the Pacific's fourth annual "Literacy Report Card."

Test results show only 27 percent of San Joaquin County third graders were able to read at their grade level compared to 38 percent statewide.

The report does show there have been some improvements including drops in truancy and a lower percentage of mothers without high school diplomas.

Jennifer Torres Siders with UOP says preschool enrollment also increased to 42 percent from 34 percent last year, she says that number is promising.

"The more three and four-year-olds in San Joaquin County who are enrolled in preschool than have been enrolled in years past which tells us they are more likely to be getting the fundamental skills they need to do well when they do start kindergarten," says Siders.

Siders says a new public library program called "Summer Book Buddies" is tutoring students over the summer vacation so they don't lose the reading skills they've developed.

"The library pre and post testing show not only have students not fallen behind in their reading skills during the summer but participants have also gained reading ability during that program," says Siders.

She says students who don't master reading by third grade often become high school dropouts.