Congratulations to the Guilford County team that recently developed the first comprehensive Early Literacy Strategic Plan designed specifically to meet the needs of families with children from birth through age five. The team consists of 25 professionals from 20 agencies/organizations who worked together for six months to meet an ambitious goal: Design a set of powerful strategies to solve the problem that too many children arrive in Kindergarten without the language/communication skills needed to succeed in school.
To develop the plan, the team:
- Interviewed 50+ families with infants, toddlers and preschoolers to learn about perceptions of language/communication development, community resources they use, and what’s working/not working to prepare children;
- Gathered additional data from early literacy programs and service providers about key success factors and barriers;
- Analyzed qualitative/quantitative data to build a pathway that aligns with North Carolina standards;
- Identified root causes for why too many children are not on track; and
- Developed powerful strategies to address those root causes.
The plan focuses on improving upon six indicators in Guilford County:
- The % of families using effective Active Reading strategies daily with children;
- The % of families reporting confidence in their ability to prepare children for literacy success;
- The % of literacy programs effectively building parents’ skills to promote literacy at home;
- The % of children engaged in quality, culturally competent early literacy programming;
- The % of formal childcare settings (and informal childcare settings, such as care by a relative) with high-quality, culturally competent literacy programming aligned with North Carolina standards; and
- The % of adults who see their role in supporting early literacy.
Implementation of the plan is already starting. New pilot programs are being launched. Agencies are aligning their own programs to include Active Reading practices. A community campaign around Active Reading is under development. A team led by Superintendent Contreras is building upon this work, which will be part of the Guilford County Schools’ 2018-2022 Strategic Plan.
Watch for more details as the work continues in Guilford County!