The Campaign has identified several issues that bear on our effort to increase the number of students reading proficiently by the end of third grade. They include:
The goal of reading proficiently by the end of third grade presents particular challenges to both teacher and student when a child is still learning English. The highest quality ESL content programs today close about half of the total achievement gap. Currently English language learners constitute nearly 11 percent of the prek-12 population, nearly 6 million students. Many of them are born in the United States but grow up speaking another language in the home. By 2025, kids learning English could account for a quarter of our public school students. Recognizing this, the Campaign is enlisting experts and educators who specialize in teaching English language learners to develop materials and strategies for helping this growing population achieve academically.
- Policy Brief: English Language Learners, National Council of Teachers of English, 2008
- White Paper: Responding to the Needs of Young Latino Children: State Efforts to Build Early Learning Systems, National Council of La Raza, February 2010
- Report: Using a Birth to Third Grade Framework to Promote Grade-Level Reading: Promising Practices in Improving Academic Achievement among California’s English Language Learners, First Focus, August 2012
The Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, in partnership with the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, has funded the paper “Don’t “Dys” our Kids.” The core conclusion of the paper is that it is impossible to close the achievement gap and reach grade-level reading for all students without providing a “universal design for learning” for those with dyslexia and other specific learning disabilities. Creating this universal design for the 2.5 million school children who are formally diagnosed with dyslexia has one other benefit—it helps to educate all children in any zip code, in any school, from any family in America. The paper provides a short list of recommended actions that can be embraced by The Campaign and be a critical part of its recipe for success.
- Don’t Dys Our Kids: Full Report , October 2012
- Don’t Dys Our Kids: Executive Summary, October 2012
- Don’t Dys Our Kids: Action Brief, October 2012
- Don’t Dys Our Kids: Action Brief Summary, October 2012
- Webinar: Don’t Dys Our Kids, Nov. 14, 2012
- Webinar Questions: Answers to Questions
- ‘Dys’ Policy Briefing Part 1: Stewart Hudson
- ‘Dys’ Policy Briefing Part 2: Vermont Gov. Shumlin
- ‘Dys’ Policy Briefing Part 3: Panel Discussion
The importance of reading well by the end of third grade has prompted several states to enact or consider automatic retention policies holding back struggling readers. This is a complex, divisive issue that does not lend itself to easy answers. The Campaign supports a responsible approach to promotion that recognizes the importance of starting early to achieve reading proficiency.
- Research: Is Retaining Students in the Early Grades Self-Defeating?, Brookings Institution, August 2012
- Report: Third Grade Literacy Policies: Identification, Intervention, Retention, Education Commission of the States, March 2012
- Research: Ending Social Promotion Without Leaving Children Behind: The Case of New York City. RAND Corporation, 2009.
- Contacts: Research and contacts for retention
The Campaign is reaching out to leaders working to improve instruction in STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math. Rather than choose between these educational priorities, schools should find ways to integrate literacy with STEM instruction. This can be as simple as using science texts for reading lessons. Integration can also go much deeper, incorporating problem solving, vocabulary building, writing and speaking through STEM activities.