Cobb County public libraries and librarians are leaders addressing a top challenge for the Atlanta region: Improving Third-Grade Reading Skills.

Ensuring more children are ready to make the transition from “learning to read to reading to learn” by the end of third grade is much more than an issue for schools and families. It is a critical matter of economic development. Employers seek a talented workforce.

An expanding body of evidence shows that workforce development in communities is linked to early literacy. Cobb County Public Library staff members share the power of reading with thousands of your youngest neighbors every year.

The Atlanta Regional Commission recently placed Third-Grade Reading Skills on the planning agency’s inaugural list of the “top 10 issues for metro Atlanta that must be addressed to ensure the region remains economically competitive and a great place to live.”

The top-10 list is part of the ARC’s What’s Next ATL initiative calling for everyone to focus on the key issues “to maintain our quality of life and our place as a leader in the global economy.”

More on Improving Third-Grade Reading Skills from What’s Next ATL:

For many of us, there were crucial moments – when a parent revealed the wonders of a library or a teacher opened the door to a bigger world – that set us on the course to literacy and vital careers.

Researchers find that most students need to read proficiently by the end of third grade to be successful in their future studies and careers. Metro Atlanta falls short in this area, risking the long-term economic viability of the region.

In Atlanta region, only 40% of third-graders are hitting the mark. That matters, because students with weak reading abilities were four times more likely to drop out of high school later on. Students who are behind the curve at third grade are also less likely to someday take college aptitude tests, or they got lower scores, hurting their chances to get a good post-secondary education.

A one-page backgrounder on the Third-Grade Reading Skills issue is at


Cobb County Library Partners with Cobb and Marietta Schools for ‘Library PASS’ Initiative to Expand the ‘Power of Access’

1000 Books B4 Kindergarten

Storytime @ the Cobb County Public Library


The Challenge of ‘Improving Third-Grade Reading Skills’