It is time to build on North Carolina’s history of innovation and success to tackle one of the greatest challenges facing the state: the overwhelming majority of our children are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade. Reading well in the early grades predicts a child’s academic and career success.
To address this challenge, we need to adopt policies and practices that are both based in research and informed by the people who know the most about what children need – their parents and caregivers.
Parents and caregivers have always intuitively known what research and brain science have now proven is needed to support children’s academic and third-grade reading success. Starting from birth, children need good health, strong families and communities that can support their growth and development, and high quality education from early child care through third grade.
Supporting a child’s success takes coordinated strategies across all those systems. We need parents to tell us what is currently helping children be healthy, supported, and well-educated, and what is standing in the way? What do parents want and need to support their child’s success?
We want to ask you a set of questions which will guide the work of NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading – an effort at the state level to change policies and practices, implement needed programs, and build the state’s capacity in the areas that will help children reach this important developmental milestone of reading on grade-level by the end of third grade.
Combined results from your responses will go directly to state leaders who are making decisions about what laws to pass, what policies to implement, and what programs to fund to turn the tide on our children’s early reading skills. Your participation will make a difference. Please contribute below. Thank you for your time.
Tracy Zimmerman is the executive director of the NC Early Childhood Foundation.