The significance of preschool and early literacy
It may seem far off to think about college and career readiness for our children who are 3 and 4 years old. However, research shows that the foundation for school readiness and future success begins prior to their starting school. In other words, we establish lifelong learning and academic success prior to kindergarten.
Children who come from poor families, on average, are less ready for school. A recent study found that 48 percent of low income children possessed the readiness skills needed to be successful in kindergarten. That same study found that 75 percent of moderate- to high-income children were ready for kindergarten.
It proves to be difficult and becomes a losing battle if we do not correct these deficiencies at an early age. Another study found that only 1 out 10 students overcome their lack of readiness by the eighth grade. Students who are living in poverty and are not proficient in reading and math by the third grade are three times more likely to drop out of high school. The early years are vital to the success of our children. We often spend most of our time trying to correct students at an older age. In my experience intervening this late in the game is often unsuccessful.
What can you do to prepare your child for school?
It is equally important to think about how you are preparing your child at home. Do you make sure that you read to your children at an early age? Research suggests that it is beneficial to begin reading to your child when they are an infant. The more words and language they are exposed to prior to kindergarten the better. Do you model to your children by reading books of your own? Do dads participate in the reading process?
The state legislature, this past year, has allowed local districts to fund preschool for their communities. Rugby Public School District has partnered with Headstart to create the Rugby Early Learning Center. We will begin our first year of preschool in the coming school year of 2014-2015. We are hoping to provide free preschool to around 38 students ages 3 through 5. Our priorities will focus primarily on students who are age four or students who are one year away from kindergarten. We are excited about this opportunity for all parents in Rugby and there will be more information to come.
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