In order to be vibrant community we must ensure that more children from low- and moderate-income families succeed in school and graduate high school prepared for college, work and life. One way we will accomplish this goal is by investing in early childhood education and maintains investments through high school graduation.

To Bolster Grade-Level Reading, United Way of Pinal County Has A Goal To Raise $33,000

Research shows that students who do not read well by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of school than proficient readers. We spend the first eight years of our life learning to read so that we can spend the rest of our life reading to learn.


Students in poverty are three times more likely to drop out of school or fail to graduate on time. If they read poorly, the rate is six times greater than for proficient readers. For black and Latino students, the combination of poverty and poor third-grade reading skills, makes the rate eight times greater.


As a way to increase third grade reading scores the United Ways of Arizona and four Arizona foundations formed a statewide coalition to implement a community approach known as READ ON. This effort brings together school superintendents, nonprofit agencies and government, foundations, businesses and literacy organizations to partner in addressing the reading gap.



Far too many children from low-income families arrive at Kindergarten unprepared. They are less likely to be read to regularly or participate in high-quality early care and prekindergarten programs. As a consequence, these children may hear as many as 30 million fewer words than their middle-income peers before reaching kindergarten. It takes 1000 “lap hours” in order to arrive ready at Kindergarten to begin the formal reading process. That equals to 30 minutes of daily reading with an adult.


Too many children miss too many days of school. Research has found that one in ten kindergarten and first-grade students nationwide misses nearly a month of school each year. Every hour missed of school puts these students even further behind making it harder to reach the skill level required to successfully read by third grade.


  • Address the Readiness Gap by working with communities to become a READ ON community and getting more books into the hands of low-income children and supporting families to prepare children for school.
  • Address the Attendance Gap by working with school districts and after-school program providers to address the service delivery and affordability gaps that exist in Pinal County.
  • The Family Friends and Neighbors Caregiver Outreach Assistance Project (FFN- COAP) is supported by a generous grant from First Things First, which provides training and educational opportunities to family, friends and neighbors that take care of children in their home. The goal is to provide access to quality early childhood experiences so our children will start school healthy and ready to succeed.
  • Dolly Parton Imagination Library