What Works for Reading with Children?

What Works for Third Grade Reading: Reading with Children considers why early reading with children 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. It 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. Our webinar provides an overview of the working papers and shares other Pathways resources that may assist communities in improving outcomes for young children.

Reading regularly with a caregiver improves young children’s language development, early reading achievement, and school readiness. When adults read with young children and engage them in rich conversations, children develop larger vocabularies, learn to read more easily, and grow stronger emotionally. Early language and literacy develop at the same time, beginning at birth, with both visual and vocal exchanges between a child and caregiver.1 Children who have books in their homes and are read to during the first years of life are more likely to have higher literacy skills in kindergarten,2 and whether their parents read to them nearly every day is a factor that predicts whether young children will become frequent readers in the middle school years.3

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 Strickland, D. (n.d.). Early Literacy: Policy and Practice in the Preschool Years, Reading Rockets, p. 1.  Retrieved January 14, 2017 from http://www.readingrockets.org/article/early-literacy-policy-and-practice-preschool-years

2 Reach Out and Read. (2013). Research Summary: The Evidence. Retrieved from https://www.reachoutandread.org/FileRepository/Research_Summary.pdf

3 Scholastic. (2015). Kids & Family Reading Report. Retrieved from http://mediaroom.scholastic.com/press-release/national-survey-kids-and-parents-provides-insight-what-makes-children-frequent-readers