Rhode Island Reads Annual Partner Summit

On Monday, December 10, 2018, United Way of Rhode Island and Rhode Island KIDS COUNT hosted the Rhode Island Reads Partner Summit, attended by state and community leaders. Rhode Island Reads is dedicated toward reaching our goal of 75% of 3rd graders reading at grade-level by 2025. 

As Angie Ankoma, Executive Vice President, Director of Community Investment at United Way of Rhode Island said, "Education is the biggest equalizer in this country. It is an equity issue, it is ultimately a public health issue. We owe it to our children in Rhode Island, to get this right."  

United Way of Rhode Island President & CEO Cortney Nicolato emphasized, "Let's speak up that our kids deserve more -- access to the best education for every child -- and housing, health, and food matter."  She also stressed the need for expanded learning opportunities after school and during the summer.

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT Executive Director Elizabeth Burke Bryant noted, "Our student's futures are literally on the line...Up to third grade, children are learning to read. After third grade, it is expected that children know how to read. This could not be more important." Linda Lulli from Women United shared her experience reading to young children in the community, and emphasized that learning begins at birth.

Panelists at the Partner Summit spoke about the importance of early language and literacy, summer learning and preventing summer learning loss, and the critical aspect of family engagement in improving reading skills.  Attendees then broke out into smaller group discussions, for actionable takeaways. Throughout the event, there was lively discussion on Twitter .

Please see the event's data presentation and pictures, as well as WJAR Channel 10 and WPRI Channel 12 coverage.
Super Readers

Together with the Rhode Island Association for the Education of Young Children (RIAEYC), Rhode Island Reads helped to bring Superintendents and other VIP readers into early child care programs around Rhode Island in November. 

These visits shared the joy of reading and called attention to the life-changing impact that a love of reading can have on a child's confidence, language skills, success in school, and lifelong professional success. Please click here to see all pictures and read the Op-Ed written by Superintendent Victor Capellan and RIAEYC Executive Director Lisa Hildebrand in the Providence Journal!
Research on Teaching: Pre-Kindergarten - Grade 3

Two recent studies ( Early Education and Development Journal and Early Childhood Research Quarterly) examining the quality of teaching in PK-3 found that children who receive several years in a row of good teaching and classroom experiences are more likely to reach educational goals.  In a nutshell, more years of better classroom quality predict better third grade literacy. 

Studies also find that very few children receive consecutive years of good teaching in the early grades. As we work to expand and improve access to high-quality early learning opportunities, it is important to ensure that all children receive consistent levels of high-quality experiences in the early grades.  Suggested reading on this topic includes: 
Snowy Day Books

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, ages 2 and up
A Caldecott Medal winner, this book follows a little boy through a snow-covered landscape as he makes footprints, knocks snow from a tree, creates snow angels, and tries to save a snowball for the next day. 

The Mitten by Jan Brett, ages 3 - 5
This bestseller is a classic! Woodland animals find a white mitten in the snow and crawl in to stay warm; first, a curious mole, then a rabbit, a badger and others, each one larger than the last. 

Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner, ages 5-8 
Have you ever built a snowman and discovered the next day that his grin has gotten a little crooked, or his tree-branch arms have moved? And you've wondered . . . what do snowmen do at night? 

How Tia Lola Came to (Visit) Stay by Julia Alvarez, read-aloud for grades 2 and up
After moving to Vermont with his mom, Miguel's aunt Lola comes to visit from the Dominican Republic. This book series is available in English and Spanish and celebrates the experiences of families with two cultures. 

Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner, Grades K- 3 
A non-fiction book exploring the tunnels and caves formed beneath the snow but over the ground, where many kinds of animals live through the winter, safe and warm, awake and busy, but hidden beneath the snow. 

Poppleton in Winter by Cynthia Rylant, ages 4 - 8 
Part of an easy reader chapter book series, Poppleton has lots of winter adventures in this book, including trying to grow an icicle garden and looking for a friend to go on a sleigh ride with him.