NEWS  from
 Reach Out and Read
 Washington State
"Early math is surprisingly important. What kids know in their preschool or entering kindergarten year about mathematics predicts their later school success. In mathematics, sure, that makes sense, but it even predicts later reading success, as well as early literacy skills."

--Douglas Clements, PhD, Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning and Professor, University of Denver

When talking about improving kindergarten readiness in Washington, people frequently highlight math skills, because they show the greatest deficits in WaKIDS scores. Overall, only 66% of students arrive at kindergarten with expected skills in math. When the results are disaggregated, children in low-income families and children of color are disproportionately behind even more in math than other areas. 

We share the desire of the Department of Early Learning, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and local education agencies to improve early math skills. Like early literacy, critical foundations for success in math are laid at home, based on the parent-child relationship in the first few years of life. At the same time, all aspects of children's early development are multi-faceted and inter-related. Therefore, even very young children are learning skills across all domains at the same time, including social-emotional, language, literacy, and math. Significantly improving outcomes in one area of learning requires intentionality, but it also entails recognition of the connections between developmental domains. 

Early math concepts are readily available in many children's books, and adults can demonstrate math concepts in children's books when reading and telling stories about the pictures. Intentionally integrating math content into the Reach Out and Read program is a natural extension of supporting parents as their child's first teacher through a language-rich home environment filled with children's books. We are very excited to share that we have embarked on an innovative pathway to develop and test this concept through our Reach Out and Read network in Washington. Please read on to learn more! 

We hope you find time for family and some good books this summer!

Jill Sells, MD & the Reach Out and Read Washington Team

Support Reach Out and Read in Washington 

Making Early Math Accessible

We are excited to announce a three-year project,  Making Early Math Accessible: Doctors supporting families through Reach Out and Read. This project will increase the early math experiences of young children in Washington by enhancing the existing evidence-based, proven, Reach Out and Read program with math content. 

We will develop, pilot, and refine an early-math integration approach by partnering with math experts and medical providers, while aligning with Washington's  Learning Pathways in Numeracy. Medical providers will learn to integrate developmentally appropriate math concepts into the literacy-promoting advice they already give to families with young children. This will help families develop positive attitudes toward math, and the skills to support their child's early language, literacy, and math development through the positive parent-child experience of sharing children's books together. 

Our approach meets families "where they are" while leveraging the trusted doctor-family relationship to improve kindergarten readiness at the population level. By prioritizing medical providers serving children in low-income families, children of color, and families where English is not the home language, Reach Out and Read will deliberately strive to help eliminate the opportunity gap for children related to both literacy and math, starting in the first years of life.

Starting Strong with Parents

Reach Out and Read enjoyed attending this year's Starting Strong conference in Spokane, Washington and connecting with our amazing P-3 colleagues from around the state. Early math was a strong theme throughout the conference which included a closing keynote by early math expert Douglas Clements. We were invigorated by the discussion around early math and were encouraged by the many folks who recognize the important role of parents and doctors in early learning. A highlight of the event was the opportunity our Deputy Director Jessica Mortensen had to share our math project with statewide leaders in early learning and education. They were enthusiastic about our new venture! Special thanks to Anne Gallagher, Director of Mathematics at OSPI, for helping strengthen our connections around this important work. We look forward to partnering with OSPI, DEL, the ESD's and communities as we move forward in support of families.   

About Reach Out and Read Washington State

Reach Out and Read gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together.  Our evidence- based proven program leverages the influence of children's doctors and makes literacy promotion  a standard part of well-child checkups from birth through 5 years. Reach Out and Read  supports parents as their child's first teacher and helps children be ready for  kindergarten. 
Through 215 programs in 31 counties, 1,700 medical providers serve an estimated  110,000 children and their families across Washington. Reach Out and Read
Washington State is part of Reach Out and Read, Inc., a national not-for  profit 501(c)3  organization.