Opinion
Reading & Literacy Letter to the Editor

Emphasis on K-3 Reading Urged in Renewed ESEA

June 14, 2010 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

Regarding your article “Report Targets 3rd Grade Reading as Crucial Turning Point” (June 9, 2010):

The Annie E. Casey Foundation report released last month, “Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters,” impressively documents America’s failure to educate low-income children in reading. We thank the foundation for its excellent analysis and its contribution to policymakers and practitioners.

Experience Corps, a national program offering adult tutoring and support for students, has for 15 years been focused on helping at-risk children reach reading proficiency by the 4th grade. Our 2,000 volunteers, all community members age 55 and older, serve some 20,000 high-need K-3 students in 22 cities. A recent study from Washington University in St. Louis and Mathematica Policy Research shows that participating students achieve 60 percent greater gains in academic performance over similar students not taking part in the program.

We know that it is not possible for Experience Corps alone to reach all the children who need our assistance, and that investments must be made to identify and scale other effective youth-literacy programs. As the Casey Foundation report reminds us, the cost of failure is high: Without the basic building block of reading, students will have serious difficulty learning more-advanced subjects in later grades, and in gaining life and employment skills.

We hope the Casey report will persuade Congress to continue a strong emphasis on early reading as it undertakes reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. As provisions are made for coordination of reading instruction across grades, it is imperative that investments in K-3 literacy not be diminished.

Lester Strong

Chief Executive Officer

Experience Corps

Washington, D.C.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the June 16, 2010 edition of Education Week as Emphasis on K-3 Reading Urged in Renewed ESEA

Events

Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Science of Reading: Emphasis on Language Comprehension
Dive into language comprehension through a breakdown of the Science of Reading with an interactive demonstration.
Content provided by Be GLAD
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Quiz
Quiz Yourself: How Much Do You Know About Foundational Reading Skills?
Answer 9 questions about foundational reading skills.
Content provided by WordFlight
Reading & Literacy Opinion How to Help Students With Their Writing. 4 Educators Share Their Secrets
In many classrooms, students are handcuffed by restrictive templates for assignments instead of getting to practice how to create.
13 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Reading & Literacy Spotlight Spotlight on Early Childhood Literacy
This Spotlight will help you analyze early literacy gains from tutoring, learn how science of reading can boost achievement, and more.
Reading & Literacy Spotlight Spotlight on The Science of Reading
This Spotlight will help you review the key components for reading comprehension, California’s approach to align teacher prep, and more.