The Fall 2023 Off the Shelf is a special issue with tools to help families and caregivers support children in learning to read.

What we know:

Too many kids are struggling to read.

The Ohio Department of Education reports that forty percent of third-grade students in Ohio do not read at grade level. In some Lucas County districts, that rate is as high as 60 percent.

How did this happen?

Disruptions to school due to the pandemic have definitely hurt some students. However, signs of declining reading achievement were building before the pandemic. We are learning that the way many students have been taught to read over the past 20 years is proving to be unsuccessful.

Why does it matter?

Without strong reading skills, students are more likely to struggle both academically and socially. Students who struggle to read are more likely to have discipline issues and be chronically absent and less likely to meet important outcomes such as high school graduation. Knowing the link between reading and future achievement, we must do everything we can to help kids become great readers.

What can we do?

The good news is that we have a body of scientific research about how kids learn to read. The research shows there are important skills that all kids need to learn to become good readers. The two main skills are:

Decoding (also called phonics, or sounding out words)

Language comprehension

It’s important to know that reading is not a natural skill; it must be taught, and learning is hard work! Parents and caregivers are children’s first teachers, and the Library is here to support you.

Contact the Ready to Read team to schedule an individual session at 419.259.5253 or at You will receive instruction tailored to your child’s reading needs and a stack of helpful (and fun!) take home activities.

Download the entire issue here.