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Literacy: The Touchdown that Matters Most for This Star Receiver

• Dave Myslinski

Literacy - The Touchdown that Matters Most for This Star Receiver


September is National Literacy Month, a time when we recognize and celebrate the importance of reading. Recent studies have shown the correlation between literacy skills and outcomes in life.

  • Seven out of every 10 prison inmates can’t read above a fourth-grade level
  • Eighty-eight percent of high school dropouts struggled with reading in third grade
  • Third-graders who struggle with reading are four times as likely to not graduate high school
  • Almost 90 percent of teenagers in the juvenile justice system are functionally illiterate

Too many students are shuffled through school, promoted to the next grade without building the fundamental skills of reading. Reading is not just a subject; it is the foundation for all learning.

The CBS Evening News recently highlighted the story of Malcolm Mitchell, a star wide receiver at the University of Georgia. When Mitchell began college, he was only reading at a junior-high level, but made it his goal to overcome that handicap.

Mitchell confessed that when he started college he could only read at about a junior high level, and it bothered him. So he started putting as much effort into his reading game as his football game.

His efforts paid off, and can be rarely found without a book in his hands. Now Mitchell has another reason to be an inspiration in addition to his athletic skills.

Click here to learn more about ExcelinEd’s policies for early literacy.

About the author

Dave Myslinski

Dave Myslinski serves as a Communications Specialist for the Foundation for Excellence in Education, and was the State Policy Director for Digital Learning Now, focusing on digital education policies across all 50 states. Prior to joining the Foundation, he served as the Education Task Force Director at the American Legislative Exchange Council, where he focused on digital learning, K-12 education reform, and higher education policies on the state level. He is a coauthor of the Report Card on American Education: Ranking State K-12 Performance, Progress and Reform for ALEC, and currently serves on its Education Task Force Executive Committee and is a Vice-Chair of the Digital Learning Subcommittee. Dave has previously worked on state policies relating to health care and telecommunications. He is a graduate of Rutgers University. Contact Dave at