State Health, Family Support and Education Leaders Find Consensus on Actions to Improve Third Grade Reading Proficiency

There are specific actions North Carolina can take that will improve third grade reading proficiency, and there are roles for school systems, health systems, state agencies, nonprofits, businesses, foundations, and families. That’s the message from a group of state leaders that met yesterday to come to consensus on a Pathways to Grade-Level Reading Action Framework for the state.

Sixty leaders from across the child health, family and community supports, and birth-through-third grade education systems in the state have worked for a year to develop the Action Framework, with input from local communities across the state. The Framework lays out core expectations for North Carolina’s child and family systems, and specific actions that will move the needle on key areas that are critical for improving third grade reading proficiency. Areas of focus include prioritizing racial equity and cultural competence in state systems; engaging with, learning from and supporting families; and building high-quality birth-through-third-grade education and social-emotional health systems that meet children’s and families’ needs.

The final Action Framework will be released publicly after the large and growing group of Pathways Partners have an opportunity to react to it and endorse it at a stakeholder meeting planned for October 18th.

The NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading Initiative holds up reading proficiency at the end of third grade as a proxy for child well-being. The initiative is creating partnerships among the state’s early learning and education, public agency, policy, philanthropic and business leaders to define a common vision, shared measures of success and coordinated strategies that support children’s optimal development beginning at birth. The Pathways vision is that all North Carolina children, regardless of race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status, are reading on grade-level by the end of third grade, and all children with disabilities achieve expressive and receptive communication skills commensurate with their developmental ages, so that they have the greatest opportunity for life success.