New campaign encourages parents to teach kids reading skills early

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 63 percent of Kansas fourth graders are not reading at grade level. That’s according to the Kansas Health Foundation.

The foundation launched a campaign Tuesday to let parents know how important it is to teach their kids reading skills at an early age. 

The foundation said children who don’t read at grade level by the time they enter fourth grade are four times less likely to graduate from high school. Two-thirds of those students will likely end up in prison or poverty.

KHF CEO Steve Coen said the solution is to teach kids reading skills at a young age. 

“We know that there is this window of opportunity for children, that if they are not taught to read between zero and five, that window of opportunity closes,” he said. “And so we’re trying to educate parents that if they miss that window of opportunity the outcomes for their child are not going to be very good.”

KHF’s statewide campaign Can’t Wait to Read gives busy parents simple ways to teach their young children how to read.

“Through this campaign, we’re equipping them with quick, easy reading tools they can use on the go and at home. With the right resources and information, they can give their little ones a running start – even before they get to school age,” Coen said.

By going to the campaign’s website,, parents can sign up for 28 days of texts or emails featuring free advice, resources, and information about other organizations that can help their kids learn.

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