Operations Director for Read Aloud WV, Dawn Miller, says early reading development begins at home. “The network for reading has to be developed," Miller said. "And it’s developed by parents singing, talking and reading with children from birth.”

Read Aloud WV has thousands of volunteers that visit schools all across the state to help children read. This year, 4th grade reading scores dropped to 213 on a 500 point scale. That's just under the national average of 219.

President of the WVEA, Dale Lee, says the national testing only samples a small percentage of the state's population.

"Some of the reason for low performance could be a number of low socioeconomic kids, testing students with special needs," Lee said. "It could be several things that lead to that. With all that being said though, no one's happy with where the test scores are."

Miller says too much screen time can hinder a child's reading development. She encourages parents to put the phones down and pick up a paperback instead.

“What they see us doing, they know is important," Miller said. "So that’s why we tell the adults, ’Make sure the kids see you read. Make sure you put the devices away and spend time in that print book.’ And what the kids see the adults in their lives do is very important and very influential.”

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