Katie Couric's Notebook: Reading skills

The statistics are grim. Each school day, 7,000 students drop out of high school - that's 1.2 million every year.

Teachers say the key to keeping kids in school is to identify early those at risk. Now a new study says that may be as early as third grade. The Annie E. Casey Foundation found third graders who don't read proficiently are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma.

The study authors say that's because schools focus on developing reading skills mostly during grades one, two and three. After that, students use those tools to learn about many other subjects...and those who fall behind find it much harder to catch up.

But they can if they receive the guidance and attention they need to improve. That depends on adults, parents and teachers alike, who must put their own reading skills to use to see the writing on the wall and the warning signs ahead.

That's a page from my notebook.

I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.