STAIR works with students during the most critical time of their education. Prior to third grade, most children are learning to read--gaining the basic skills that they need to be academically successful. As they move into third grade, they are reading to learn--using their skills to gain knowledge in math, history, language and science, and developing a love of learning that will help transform their futures.
According to The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, "Reading proficiency by third grade is the most important predictor of high school graduation and career success", yet only 23.4% of Birmingham City students reached this benchmark during the 2017-18 school year.
This means that more than 3 out of 4 Birmingham students need literacy support outside of the classroom. Without one-on-one intervention like STAIR, a student's reading gap becomes larger and larger as they move along the education pipeline.
Why does this gap become larger and larger? If a student is a struggling reader, they are often behind in every class. Studies show that more than 85% of curriculum in schools is taught by reading and according to The Children’s Reading Foundation, “at the end of third grade, 74% of struggling readers won’t ever catch up.” But the ramifications stretch far beyond the academic sphere. The Reading Foundation states that "emotional and social issues abound for children who are poor readers. Low achievement in reading is also the common denominator in school discipline, attendance and dropout problems, and juvenile crime."
STAIR provides a unique approach designed to combat this challenge our community faces. It gives students a mentor and coach who believes in their future and is committed to their academic success. It equips students with the literacy skills they need in order to be successful in school and in life.