This week the Annie E. Casey Foundation released the 2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book report. The KIDS COUNT Data Book includes the latest data, using a comprehensive index, on child well-being nationally. The report noted that despite the nation’s economic climate children’s health and education are showing encouraging improvements.
“This year’s findings reveal signs of hope in the midst of tough economic times for millions of families across the country,” said Patrick McCarthy, the Casey Foundation’s president and CEO. “While we’ve made progress in some important areas, we must work together to make sure every child, not just a select few, has the opportunity to succeed. We can help children reach their full potential by ensuring they stay on track in school and grow up healthy in strong financially stable families surrounded by supportive communities.”
At Children’s Literacy Initiative (CLI), we provide opportunities for family engagement to help enforce supportive communities for students such as, the production of a “Family Reading at Home” guide and Bingo for Book events. We also know that for children to develop the skill set they need to stay on track at school they need teachers who can create sustainable change. CLI helps teachers create sustainable change by providing teachers with effective practices which gives them the ability to empower young readers.
The KIDS COUNT Data Book reported that there were national improvements across all indicators. Specifically, in the category “4th graders not proficient in reading” 35 states and DC improved in score. As the Annie E. Casey Foundation states and we know here at CLI, proficiency in reading by the end of 3rd grade is a milestone in a student’s education. We know that there is a direct correlation between being able to read by the end of the 3rd grade and finishing high school. Additionally, the data report states that high-quality pre-kindergarten programs can improve school readiness and show the greatest gains in high-risk children. This is why we focus on providing professional development for pre-kindergarten through 3rd grade teachers through coaching, training, classroom resources and CLI Compass.
Though there was an improvement in 4th grade reading proficiency, 68% (compared to 70% in 2005) of 4th graders are reading below proficient level, demonstrating room for growth. That is one reason why we launched CLI Compass, an online professional development resource that empowers teachers to guide students toward greater literacy success. With CLI Compass, teachers now have anywhere access to classroom tested instructional literacy practices, personalized action plans and integrated tools to improve pre-kindergarten to 3rd grade outcomes available 24/7.
We are pleased to be recongized as one of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Outreach Partners.