REGINA -- A number of Regina leaders have signed a Memorandum of Understanding about in support of early childhood literacy.

Regina is the second Canadian member of the Campaign for Grade-level Reading Network, joining Calgary and hundreds of other communities in the initiative, aimed at improving reading proficiency and early school success for children from low-income families.

“The campaign is an effort that involves more than 300 communities across North America, and we’re excited Regina is now part of this campaign and really making it a priority to improve third grade reading proficiency rates,” said Ron Fairchild with the Campaign for Grade-level Reading.

“Children that read to grade level by grade three, it greatly enhances their opportunity for success as they move through school and on into life,” said Greg Enion, Director of Education with Regina Public Schools. “Those early literacy skills are such important building blocks for all children.”

According to United Way Regina, research shows a child not reading well by grade three is four times more likely to not graduate, six times more likely to be involved in the criminal justice system and ultimately more likely to live in poverty. Right now in Saskatchewan, 1 in 4 kids live in poverty.

Organizations signing the MOU include Regina Public Schools, Regina Catholic Schools, the Regina Police Service, the City of Regina, the Regina Public Library, United Way Regina and several others.