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The Foundations of Early Literacy as a Tool for Equity
Every child—in Massachusetts and beyond— has the right to learn to read and write in order to be able to fully participate in our democracy. And yet, despite the research that shows that proficiency in early literacy is a key indicator of a child’s future success in school and in life, many students do not have access to effective instruction and early intervention. When our school systems fail to teach students how to read, it can have devastating consequences. In fact, 43% of adults living in poverty have low literacy levels, and there is a significant correlation between literacy and incarceration, with the U.S. Department of Justice reporting that a significant approximately 70% of incarcerated adults have difficulty reading above a fourth-grade level.

In 2019, before the pandemic, only half of 3rd through 5th graders were reading on grade level according to the ELA MCAS, highlighting the persistent opportunity gaps where our system failed to reach early learners. These opportunity gaps were even more dire for Black and Latinx students for whom the percentage of 3-5th graders reading on grade level dropped to 30%.​ Over the next 2-3 years, as COVID-19 disrupted our educational systems, overall outcomes have reached historic lows.
It is clearer now, more than ever, that high quality, evidence-based early literacy instruction is one of our best tools to ensure a more equitable future for all students.

Mar 28, 2023 03:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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