Alabama students below national average in reading


A new report shows that more Alabama students read beneath their grade level than the national average.

The Alliance for Excellent Education's 2011 Nation's Report Card in reading shows that 31 percent of Alabama eighth-graders read below their grade level. Nationally, that rate is 25 percent.

Alliance president Bob Wise said that poor reading skills result in unprepared college students taking remedial courses and employers spending more money on job training.

The state has promoted its Alabama Reading Initiative for the past decade. The program saw its initial funding push under former Gov. Bob Riley and has seen reading gains throughout the state, especially at the elementary level.

The report states that Congress must provide additional money for literacy programs for states to see better reading gains.

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