What Works for Social-Emotional Health?

Children’s social-emotional health is a fundamental building block for their healthy development, influencing early literacy outcomes and longer term academic and life success. Our new resource, What Works for Third Grade Reading: Social-Emotional Health, is one of 12 new working papers that offer research-based policy, practice and program options to states and communities working to improve third grade reading proficiency. What Works for Third Grade Reading: Healthy Birthweight was featured earlier this month.

The new brief considers why social-emotional health matters for third grade reading proficiency, outlines its connection with other factors that impact early literacy, and highlights options that have been shown to move the needle on children’s social-emotional health outcomes.

The emotional, social, and behavioral competence of young children is a strong predictor of academic performance in elementary school1 and beyond, even affecting employment and income in adulthood.2 Children who exhibit self-control have good interpersonal skills with both peers and teachers,3 have fewer behavioral problems, and are more successful in school.4 Early and regular behavioral health screenings with comprehensive assessments as warranted ensure the early detection of behavioral health needs.5 Effective behavioral health treatment can often mitigate or eliminate future behavioral health conditions.6

What Works for Third Grade Reading is a collection of 12 working papers that address whole-child, birth-to-age-eight factors that support children’s optimal development and improve reading proficiency. The resource was produced by the Institute for Child Success and the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation, in collaboration with BEST NC, to support the work of the NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading (Pathways) initiative.


1 Zero to Three. (2009). Early Experiences Matter: A Guide to Improved Policies for Infants and Toddlers. Retrieved from https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/119-early-experiences-matter-policy-guide#downloads

2 Child Trends. (2013). The Research Base for a Birth through Age Eight State Policy Framework. Retrieved from http://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/2013-42AllianceBirthto81.pdf

3 Schorr, L. & Marchand, V. (2007). Pathway to Children Ready for School and Succeeding at Third Grade. Retrieved from http://first5shasta.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/PathwayFramework9-07.pdf and Rhode Island Kids Count. (2005). Getting Ready: Findings from the National School Readiness Indicators Initiative, A 17 State Partnership. Retrieved from  http://www.doe.k12.de.us/cms/lib09/DE01922744/Centricity/Domain/146/gettingready.pdf?_sm_au_=iVV6P5RRRDvMrfHr

4 Annie E Casey Foundation, The First Eight Years: Giving Kids a Foundation for Lifetime Success, 2013. http://www.aecf.org/m/resourcedoc/AECF-TheFirstEightYearsKCpolicyreport-2013.pdf

5 Child Trends, The Research Base for a Birth through Age Eight, op cit.

6 Child Trends, The Research Base for a Birth through Age Eight, op cit.