What percentage of your students are struggling with reading? Is it more than last year?

If you are like the more than 10,000 teachers interviewed for Primary Sources: America’s Teachers on the Teaching Profession, a report released earlier this month by Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the answer is probably yes.

According to the data, almost half of teachers say that their students are not generally beginning the year prepared for on-grade-level work. Among teachers who’ve worked at their present school for at least five years, 43 percent say they are seeing a greater percentage of students who struggle with reading. At the same time, one in ten teachers report they are seeing fewer struggling readers.

Concern about a growing number of struggling readers was not limited to schools in low-income areas. Almost 40 percent of teachers who work in districts in which the median family income is 70,000 or more reported they are seeing more students who are struggling with reading than they did just five years ago.

Throughout the report, teachers repeatedly expressed their commitment to moving every child forward, but many raise concerns that for struggling readers the gap can be too large to close in one year—or even two or three years. As one middle school teacher reported, “The reality I face every day is students who are in the seventh grade but reading at the second-grade or third-grade level.”

Francie Alexander, Scholastic’s chief academic officer, applauded teachers efforts to help students gain ground and suggested that the findings reinforce what we know about the importance of summer reading to keep students from falling behind. “Like any skill, reading requires practice,” Alexander said, “it’s critical that students take the time to read during the summer in order to keep their skills sharp.”

Now in its fourth year, Primary Sources surveyed 10,000 educators from all 50 states to learn first-hand how teachers perceive their classrooms, their profession, and the future of education.

To download the full Primary Sources report, or take the survey, visit the Primary Sources website.

Teachers: Are you seeing more students who are struggling with reading? On the whole, are your students prepared for challenging schoolwork? Join the conversation and take the poll at Scholastic Teachers on Facebook!