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New Report: How is Colorado Doing With Early Literacy?

Early Childhood Education | 12/03/2015

Chelsea Henkel
Policy Manager

Chelsea is a policy manager with Stand for Children Colorado.

“From Crawling to Walking,” a report published by the think-tank New America, delves into the efforts made by states to promote literacy policies that support our country’s earliest learners. The ability to read is considered one of the most critical skills for a student to acquire, yet only one-third of all children in the United States are proficient readers by the time they finish fourth grade. This statistic is even more dire for children from low-income and minority families. Studies show that students who struggle to read in the early years are more likely to repeat a grade, drop out of school, struggle with employment, and potentially face incarceration. In order to close this achievement gap, it is critical that policymakers and stakeholders encourage and promote early literacy interventions.

New America’s report revealed that Colorado is merely taking baby steps in its attempt to improve literacy rates for children ranging from birth through third grade. “From Crawling to Walking,” which used a framework of seven essential policy areas for supporting literacy development, ranked each state and classified them as either Crawling, Toddling, or Walking. 34 states (including Colorado) and Washington, D.C., were placed in the “Toddling” category. While Colorado placed 33rd overall, the state’s rankings on each of the seven early literacy indicators are as follows:

  • Educators: Teachers and Leaders: 17
  • Standards, Assessment & Data: 18
  • Equitable Funding: 23
  • Pre-K Access & Quality: 29
  • Full-Day Kindergarten: Access and Quality: 45
  • Dual Language Learner Supports: 27
  • Third Grade Reading Laws: 2

Colorado’s high ranking for third grade reading laws comes primarily from the Reading to Ensure Academic Development (READ) Act. This 2012 legislation pushed for rigorous interventions and greater levels of state funding to help students in grades K-3 who struggle with reading. “From Crawling to Walking” makes it clear that Colorado still has work to do, and Stand for Children is committed to forwarding policies that advance literacy rates for all students.  

To read the full report, click here.

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