Push to get 3rd graders proficient in reading

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Families received a book delivery on Monday after Serve Colorado set out a challenge to have 25,000 books delivered on Martin Luther King Jr. Day across the state.

Mesa County AmeriCorps members took them up on their challenge and received 1,200 donations. The ultimate goal is to get reading levels up for third graders in District 51 schools.

The Transitional Colorado Assessment program tests 3rd to 10th graders every year on how well they can read. In 2013, 30% of District 51 students landed in the unsatisfactory or partially proficient level of the test, which was a slight increase from 2012.

Only 5.9% of students showed advanced reading scores, Experts with AmeriCorps say being a proficient reader in 3rd grade is crucial because at that point students are less likely to catch up in the future.

"If you don't read you're going to have major problems all the way through and we know that if they start reading before third grade it affects the drop out rates in high schools," Angie Bertrand, AmeriCorps.

AmeriCorps members made their rounds and donated books to Catholic Outreach, Rocky Mountain Head Start and Wishes and Dreams Childcare.

Officials say this is the first year they have done a book drive and because of the huge display of support they are hoping to continue it next year.

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