Goal One

65% OF APS THIRD-GRADERS WILL READ AT OR ABOVE GRADE LEVEL

When children start the fourth grade, they encounter a shift in the way they are taught – they go from learning to read to reading to learn. Any child who cannot read proficiently by the time they enter the fourth grade is at a serious risk of falling behind. Suddenly, a student who struggles to keep up with her peers in reading may find herself also falling behind in science, social studies and math classes. In fact, reading at grade level in the third grade is the most powerful predictor of later student achievement.

Currently, 38 percent of Akron Public Schools third-graders read at grade level.

It is no coincidence that we list this as our first goal. Third grade reading matters because it is the foundation of later learning. You can draw a direct line from third grade reading proficiency to graduation to increased employment opportunities and financial stability later in life.

Strategies to Achieve Bold Goal 1

Future strategies will likely include:

Programs and investments that support increased third grade reading scores though quality preschools, kindergarten readiness, summer learning and increased parent involvement

(Final strategy maps are expected to be announced in June 2017.)

How can YOU support Bold Goal 1?

Imagination Library mails free books monthly to children from birth to age five. Already, Imagination Library is serving more than a third of the eligible children in Summit County.


Because research shows that kids who have a caring mentor do better in school and have better learning outcomes.


  • You – along with others in your company – can participate in one of the many volunteer events provided through United Way’s year-long Engagement Calendar.

Our volunteer engagement events provide hands-on experiences through meaningful projects that support United Way’s Bold Goals.


Learn more about and take action on community issues that are essential to the success of the Bold Goals.


  • You can donate to specifically support Bold Goal 1 or all of United Way’s Bold Goals.