Why are so many kids not learning to read and write in California schools?

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In California, more than half of all elementary school children cannot read or write at their grade level. The state ranks 49th in the country for 4th grade reading scores. Only New Mexico is worse.

Literacy coaches at Union Avenue Elementary school hunker down to review student performance and gauge who needs extra support. Charts on the wall track progress and student challenges. The six full-time coaches work directly with classroom teachers. (Photo: Deepa Fernandes)

First grader in Ms. Pulliam’s class at Union Avenue Elementary school works independently on a writing assignment. This elementary school performs around the California state average for 3rd grade reading. (Photo: Deepa Fernandes)