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Vision Problems Might Cause Reading Trouble for Third Grader

Vision Problems Might Cause Reading Trouble for Third Graders
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(File) A young child has her eyes examined.
National Eye Institute

Third grade children in Mississippi might be struggling with reading due to vision problems. MPB's Jasmine Ellis reports.

Mississippi third graders who did not pass the state reading assessment and do not have insurance are eligible for free eye exams. The Mississippi Optometric Association and the Mississippi Vision Foundation are offering the exams statewide through July 31.

Dr. Megan Sumrall Lott is an optometrist and vice president of the Mississippi Vision Foundation. She says she wants to see every child succeed regardless of their socioeconomic status.

"Studies show that in a classroom, 80 percent of learning that a child does comes through their visual system," said Lott. "So obviously you can understand if a child can't see well they're probably not going to perform up to their highest level of ability academically in a classroom."

Twenty five percent of third graders failed the first round of the reading test this year. The Mississippi Department of Education released the results last month. Carey Wright is state superintendent of education. She previously said she stands by the decision to raise the threshold a student must meet to advance to the fourth grade.

"Children's lives depend on this," said Wright. "I take this very seriously and parents entrust their children to our schools every day. They entrust our children to learn on a daily basis. And it's on us as educators to make sure that happens."

The Department of Education says the next round of testing results could be released within the next few days.