The Literacy Crisis

Los Angeles faces a literacy crisis.

Studies have shown that lack of proficiency in literacy skills in elementary school correlates with a number of staggering statistics. Students who are not reading at grade level by third grade are four times less likely to graduate high school on time than students who are reading proficiently by third grade. Students from low-income backgrounds are thirteen times less likely to graduate on time than proficient readers living above the poverty line.

Illiteracy has been shown to have devastating effects on an individual’s life and society as a whole, such as increased likelihood of:

  • incarceration
  • teenage parenthood
  • welfare dependency, and
  • a drastic reduction in employment opportunities

The Literacy Landscape of Los Angeles

In the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the majority of students are reading below the basic level. Furthermore, the literacy gap between students living in poverty and their wealthier peers is exacerbated by lack of access to resources, such as age-appropriate books and literacy-enhancing materials, at home.


of fourth grade students in Los Angeles Unified School District read below grade level.


of low-income, Latino, and African-American students in LAUSD read below proficiency.


of LAUSD fourth graders are eligible for free or reduced-lunch programs.


The LAUSD graduation rate reported in 2012.

KOREH L.A. believes that every child deserves the chance to read and succeed.

Learn more about how KOREH L.A. is addressing the literacy crisis in Los Angeles.

Sources used:

  • The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation
  • Hernandez, DJ (2011). Double Jeopardy – How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
  • Peters HE, Mullis NC (1997). The role of family income and sources of income in adolescent achievement. In Duncan, Brooks-Gunn (Eds.), Consequences of Growing Up Poor. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 340-381.