BOSTON (CBS) – Early reading skills are vital to kids becoming good students and staying in school.  In fact, research shows students who don’t read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma.

Donald Hernandez, lead author of a study from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, says third grade is an important pivot point in a child’s education.  It’s the time when students shift from learning to read, to reading to learn.

Hernandez says parents are their kids’ first teachers and they need to get involved in improving their child’s reading skills, even before kids go to kindergarten.  He says an educational experiment done in Chicago shows early education is among the best investments we can make.