Since its launch five years ago, the Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading has worked to ensure that all Arkansas kids can read proficiently by the end of third grade. In our new report, Full Speed Ahead: Moving the Needle on Grade-Level Reading in Arkansas, we share the progress that has been made in building the Campaign, detail milestones and measures used to track progress in areas including kindergarten readiness, third grade reading, and chronic absence, and outline a call to action for families, educators, business leaders and policymakers.
By building local capacity, developing public policy solutions, and increasing public awareness of the importance of grade-level reading, we have made significant progress toward our goal. The report shares examples of bright spots, such as:
- Marvell-Elaine Elementary School in Phillips County is a Community Solutions Initiative site. Using a literacy-infused curriculum, Marvell-Elaine went from spending six years on the Needs-Improvement List to becoming an “A” designated school.
- As one of our Make Every Day Count partner schools, Parson Hills Elementary in Springdale is making progress in combatting chronic absence. The Parson Hills chronic absence rate dropped from 15 percent during the 2012-2013 school year to just 5 percent in 2014-2015 by using a comprehensive set of strategies including an Attendance Buddies program.
- The Arkansas Better Chance (ABC) early care and education program secured increased federal and state funding to improve and expand pre-k quality. The increased funding is building local capacity, providing resources to strengthen curriculum and adding slots for additional children
Though we have made substantial progress toward our goal that all Arkansas kids read on grade level by the end of third grade, we still have work to do. Sixty-nine percent of children are not reading on grade- level in Arkansas and will need additional support if we are to reach our goal. We must engage families, invest in high-quality early childhood education, make sure children are in school every day, and provide quality summer learning programs. Everyone has a role to play.
Read the report and learn more about how you can do your part for the Arkansas Campaign for Grade- Level Reading!