In Southern California, four out of five third-graders cannot read at grade level. Research shows that children who fail to read by the age of nine rarely catch up later. In many cases, these children may never be able to realize their full potential or contribute and participate fully in our society.

In 1998, the Los Angeles Times launched Reading by 9 in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. Reading by 9 is a multi-year campaign aimed at helping kindergarten through third-grade students read at grade level by the age of nine.

Working with parents, educators, business and civic leaders and community organizations, The Times is serving as a catalyst to focus public attention on the crisis of child illiteracy. In addition, The Times is using its leadership and influence to promote public-private partnerships to improve children's reading skills.

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