Early literacy: The pathway to a successful education
One of the goals of the Iowa State Board of Education is to ensure every child enters kindergarten ready to learn. But what does that mean? In a very basic sense, it means the child is prepared to transition from listening and speaking to reading and writing skills.
To that end, early childhood literacy is the focus of a two-day conference in West Des Moines. Sponsored by the Early Childhood members of the C4K Technical Assistance Team (where C4K stands for Collaboration for Iowa’s Kids), participants in the conference included professionals from Head Start agencies, Early Childhood Iowa, Child Care Resource and Referral, institutes of higher education, Area Education Agency early childhood leadership teams, as well as the Iowa Department of Education, and the Departments of Human Services, Management, and Public Health.
The focus of C4K is early literacy. Currently it is a collaboration among the Department of Education, AEAs, and school districts. The first day of the conference brought together different early childhood stakeholders to explore how C4K might better serve literacy efforts on an early childhood level. One way would be to include more stakeholders in the C4K group, which currently is dominated with professionals from the Department of Education and AEAs.
On the second day, participants received training on preschool literacy screening. The goal is to identify students who may be at risk to develop later literacy problems so they can be monitored carefully and, when necessary, be given additional literacy supports and interventions. Components included in the early childhood screening tool focus on phonological awareness and early comprehension skills, which serve as foundations in connecting language and print to meaning.
Early literacy skills set the foundation for success in schools. Being a successful reader will help students in other aspects of school, and put them on the path to being successful citizens.
Read more about Collaborating for Iowa's Kids.