Reading is foundational for individuals to reach their full potential in the modern economy. American 3rd graders — a crucial age for ensuring a range of positive outcomes, including success in school and adult literacy — read below proficiency levels at alarming rates before the COVID-19 pandemic. This was a driving factor behind the Business Roundtable “Why Reading Matters and What to Do About It” 2016 report. Academic interruptions caused by the pandemic only made the problem worse, especially among low-income and minority students.
Improving literacy rates is a requirement for building a qualified workforce for the future, keeping the United States globally competitive and ensuring broader economic opportunity. In this report, Business Roundtable CEOs have provided an updated agenda to improve U.S. reading proficiency and help ensure all Americans are able to thrive in the workplace and achieve economic success.