Secretary Reville Launches Early Literacy Tour to Promote Importance of Building Strong Literacy Foundations at an Early Age
BOSTON – Monday, July 23, 2012 – Massachusetts Education Secretary Paul Reville today launched an early literacy tour across the Commonwealth to highlight the importance of establishing strong literacy foundations for children at an early age. The Patrick-Murray Administration has set a goal of literacy proficiency by the 3rd grade for every child in Massachusetts and is working on a number of fronts to ensure that young children and their families have the supports necessary for a successful start.
“The ability to read is foundational to lifelong learning and key to academic success,” said Secretary Reville. “Equipping our youngest citizens and their families with the resources they need for a strong academic start is a central piece of our nation-leading education reform work and early literacy is vital to those efforts.”
Statistics show that three-quarters of children who struggle with reading in 3rd grade will continue to struggle academically, greatly reducing their chances of graduating from high school, going to college or successfully participating in a 21st century high skill economy. Data also shows that children who receive high-quality literacy instruction during their earliest years are more prepared for kindergarten and success in elementary school and beyond. Additionally, students who receive intensive literacy instruction over the summer are able to maintain knowledge over the critical break from school and even make gains in reading proficiency.
The Administration has prioritized efforts to increase early literacy rates as a key strategy in helping all students achieve at higher levels and realize long term academic success and positive life outcomes.
In 2010, the Department of Early Education and Care awarded a $500,000 grant to the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley to support children’s learning and literacy development in the summer months. This funding provided quality enhancements to out-of-school programs to partner with their local school district in providing joint professional development to educators and increased enrichment opportunities for children. Twenty-five programs, including Ellis Memorial where Secretary Reville launched his early literacy tour today, are participating in the Summer Learning Collaborative (SLC), and over 2,000 children across the Commonwealth continue to benefit from this program each summer.
The Administration is also developing shared practices to build children’s early literacy skills from Pre-K through 3rd grade as part of a statewide system alignment strategy to enhance program quality and improve achievement outcomes. This work is further supported by the Commonwealth’s successful Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge plan, a four year blueprint for advancement of child, youth and community outcomes in Massachusetts. Last year, the Commonwealth received a $50M award from the Obama Administration over four years to implement high-energy, achievable education reform initiatives that chart a clear path for closing achievement gaps at an early age, before they begin to form.
“The summer months provide a significant time period in which early education and care programs, public schools, and community-based organizations such as museums and libraries can work together to continue supporting children’s brain development and learning retention,” said Department of Early Education and Care Commissioner Sherri Killins. “Every adult has a role to play in providing our youngest citizens with high quality, enriching experiences that develop their oral and written language skills and provide them with the core knowledge that is foundational to their lifelong learning and success.”
Early Literacy Tour Schedule:
- July 23rd, 11:00 a.m. Ellis Memorial Pre-School Program, Boston (SLC program)
- July 26th, 1:30 p.m. Quinsigamond Children’s School, Worcester
- July 30th, 2:30 p.m. The Sharon Cooperative School, Inc., Sharon
- August 3rd, 1:30 p.m. Community Teamwork, Inc., Lowell (SLC program)
Details on additional dates will be made available on the Executive Office of Education’s website as they are scheduled.
For more information on the Patrick-Murray Administration’s early literacy work, please visit www.ma.gov/edu.