Healthy development beginning at birth greatly impacts children’s ability to learn: Children who are on track in their physical and social and emotional development are more successful learners from their earliest years and are more likely to become proficient readers. The Healthy Readers Initiative of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading focuses on strategies to ensure that children from low-income families are in good health and developing on track at four key milestones in their development from birth through third grade: Born Healthy, Thriving at Three, Ready at Five, and Present and Engaged in the Early Grades. To support these efforts, the Healthy Readers Team is pleased to introduce a new resource series developed to assist communities in incorporating Children’s Health and Learning Priorities in support of community action plans to improve school readiness, school attendance and summer learning; the key community solutions for improving grade-level reading.
Growing Healthy Readers: Taking Action to Support the Health Determinants of Early School Success is a full series of resource guides that will help community- and state-level coalitions determine how to take action on priority issues that affect children’s health and learning. The series is shaped around five priorities that support the key community solutions for improving grade-level reading: 1) prenatal care and infant development; 2) comprehensive screenings, follow-up and early intervention; 3) oral health; 4) asthma management; and 5) nutrition and physical activity.
You are invited to explore the resource guides and the key health issues, each with a research-based connection to success in learning, and investigate how you can use the guides to incorporate health priorities into community action plans for improving grade-level reading. Priority issue areas and corresponding resources guides include:
1. Prenatal Care and Infant Development
2. Comprehensive Screenings, Follow-Up and Early Intervention
3. Oral Health
4. Asthma Management
5. Nutrition and Physical Activity
Improving health and learning for children from low-income families is important work, but it need not be daunting. Local coalitions will want to consult available data and gather information to help them determine which priorities to address to improve children’s health and learning. The Resource Guides contain valuable information and recommendations about how to proceed. No matter which strategies a community coalition undertakes, it is useful to begin by including people who are knowledgeable about children’s health, such as representatives from Head Start, pediatricians, the Health Department, and a Federally-Qualified Health Center (FQHC). These individuals can help stakeholders understand the issues and reach out to others who can support the work.
The Campaign will continue to work with national partners and Sponsoring Coalitions in the GLR Communities Network to help develop specific solutions targeted to the needs in each local community.