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early learning

Early Literacy Intervention

Uninterrupted reading for elementary students makes waves for one Michigan district.

Ovid-Elsie Area Schools is a rural district with a poverty rate of over 70 percent, and a high population of homeless students.

So a few years ago, the district made a concerted effort in personnel and programming to meet the goal of all students reading at grade level by the end of third grade. Ovid-Elsie was one of the first districts in the state to move to an all-day kindergarten program six years ago, and to employ a full-time literacy coach.

Yale lecturer Erika Christakis says kids do too much rote work in kindergarten.

Burdened by demands to show outcomes and achievement, early education classrooms are often reduced to scripted lessons and meaningless craft work that imparts little learning, Yale early childhood education lecturer Erika Christakis says in her book The Importance of Being Little.

32 states and the District of Columbia raised funding levels of preschool programs

Total state funding for preschool programs rose by $767 million, to a total of nearly $7 billion. In the 2015-16 budget year, 32 states and the District of Columbia raised funding levels of preschool programs—ans support stemmed from both sides of the political aisle.

Pre-K Partnership

Eighty-five percent of students starting kindergarten in Erie’s Public Schools are classified as economically disadvantaged, with many showing significant deficits in early learning as measured by a standard literacy-skills assessment.

Facing challenging budgetary constraints, the urban district partnered with local Mercyhurst University in the 2014-15 school year to develop seven school-based, full-day preschool classrooms taught by Mercyhurst graduate students certified in early childhood education.

"The Importance of Being Little" offers a new vision for preschool and kindergarten instruction.

The Importance of Being Little: What Preschoolers Really Need from Grownups


Children come into the world hardwired to learn in virtually any setting and about any matter. Yet in today’s preschool and kindergarten classrooms, learning has been reduced to scripted lessons and suspect metrics that too often undervalue a child’s intelligence while overtaxing the child’s growing brain.

Using technology effectively at the early elementary level has the potential to improve achievement across grade levels in a district, by preparing elementary students to use the digital tools they will need later on in school, and in college and career.

Ensuring early reading literacy

A reading interventionist might be a district’s best friend.

Lake Orion Community Schools in Michigan broke new ground two years ago with its Kindergarten Reading Early Intervention Program. The unique initiative pairs full-time reading interventionists with teachers in Lake Orion’s 24 kindergarten classrooms to boost the early literacy of the district’s youngest students.

As all educators know, reading is the key to lifelong learning, but it can be a challenge outside the classroom, with competition from TV, video games, and other distractions. That’s one reason United Way-Sun Coast has partnered with myON for the “Read on myON” project since 2012.

Two kindergarten classes are speaking Spanish throughout most of their days in a successful opt-in, dual-language program in the Tigard-Tualatin (Ore.) School District.

Students who are identified early as at-risk and get support like extra reading have a better chance at graduating high school. But many students are unable to access early education opportunities and, research says, fewer than half of poor children are ready for school at age 5.

“People don’t often think about preschool as [an element of] dropout prevention,” says Marty Duckenfield, spokesperson for the National Dropout Prevention Center. “They think of the surly high school kid with behavior problems—but it goes back to other issues, and one is early childhood education.”