Sixty Percent Of SCS Third-Graders Read At Or Below Basic Level

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(Memphis) Third grade can be the turning point of a child's learning.

"In the third-grade level you are ready to analyze the text, looking at what you are reading, why are you reading it and how it helps you in other subjects," said third-grade teacher Joy Stevens.

Stevens is among the top recruited teachers working with Teach Plus to find innovative ways to reach students.

We showed her the latest stats from Shelby County Schools showing that 60 percent of third-graders are below or just at the basic reading level.

"We know our children they need help with their reading development or literacy," said Stevens.

The Shelby County School Board says the numbers show lower reading rates correspond with children who are economically disadvantaged.

The school system plans to turn the numbers around through reading centers, parent training, and teacher courses.

Some things are already in place.

"At our school, we have after-school tutoring to help them get those skills they have missed out on," said Stevens.

Parents are a big piece of the puzzle.

For instance, Amy Seddens works with her first grade son Joshua.

"We read every night. We come to the library regularly. There are some websites we get on, reading websites," said Seddens. "Parents need to put more effort into it. Make sure their kids do their homework. Read to them. Sound the words out."

Many say pre-k can also make a difference.

"It puts them a step ahead," said Seddens.

"When they have those skills early, when they go into kindergarten, they are ready and they will become successful," said Stevens.

Funding to expand pre-k was voted down in Memphis this month.

Supporters are now looking for other ways to get pre-k to thousands of kids who now don't have it.

Stevens says the good news is these shocking reading numbers can be improved and students can catch up, but it will take spending time and helping them with skills they lack.


  • Thomas H. Evans

    Why are we surprised when we spend 100% of our time fighting over who will educate our kids? Why are we surprised when we keep making excuses for parents of kids who come from certain areas of our city? why are we surprised when our kids spend more time in school preparing for test than reading or “writing”? Why are we surprised when we pass our kids on to the next grade no matter how they are performing in their current grade? Stop being surprised and do something about it.

  • Thomas H. Evans

    One more thing, I would bet you that 60% of our 12th graders are only reading on a fifth grade level, and let’s not even talk about reading comprehension.

  • Otis Farrell

    Hey folks,

    Why the surprise? Did you dolts not know this was part of the motive for the MCS hijacking of SCS?

    See folks, … now they can mask just how poorly the Memphis students are doing. Get behind the numbers and you will see the problem is in the schools in Memphis, not the ones in the other incorporated areas of the county.

    It’s the same ols … same old. Now, they can hide the pisspoor city results.

  • Janice

    It’s mind-boggling how one can infer that those in the inner-city can not read and those in the “incorporated” areas can. This is lunacy at its best. This would not wash statistically. Furthermore, Ms. Stevens has not mastered English or grammar. “We know our children they need help…” Which one of you scholars can diagram this statement? By the way, I live in 38109. As you can see, my grammatical skills are impeccable.

Comments are closed.