Chronic absence is a measure of how much school a student misses for any reason. It is a broader measure than truancy, which only tracks unexcused absences. Starting in the early grades, the percentage of students missing 10 percent of the school year can reach remarkably high levels, and these early absences can rob students of the time they need to develop literacy skills.
Tracking chronic absence is a data-driven solution that can be built into federal grant applications and can be an integral part of parent engagement programs. It can be a goal for a funder’s investment – or a measure of a grantee’s success. Chronic absence can also tip off communities to families and neighborhoods in need of further support, since poor school attendance can be an early warning sign of challenging social, economic and health conditions.
In some communities, chronic absence affects 1 in 4 children. Nationally, as many as 7.5 million students miss 10 percent or more of the school year – that’s 135 million days.
This infographic illustrates the importance of consistent attendance for our youngest students. Image courtesy of Attendance Works (Click to Enlarge)
For more information on the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s efforts to reduce chronic absence nationally, please visit gradelevelreading.net/our-work/chronic-absence.
Just as there is an achievement gap in school performance, there is a school readiness gap that separates disadvantaged children from their more affluent peers. As early as 18 months, low-income children begin to fall behind in vocabulary development and other skills critical for school success. Parents play an enormous role in closing this gap, as do daycare providers, pediatricians, preschools programs and the broader community.
Research shows that learning begins long before a child enters kindergarten. Children – even infants – soak up words, rhymes, songs and images. Vocabulary development is particularly important. A child’s health, and the timely recognition of developmental delays, is another critical aspect of school readiness. Doctors, care providers and preschool teachers play a key role.
For more information on the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s efforts to promote school readiness nationally, please visit gradelevelreading.net/our-work/school-readiness.
Research spanning 100 years has proven that students lose ground academically when they are out of school for the summer. The problem is particularly acute among low-income students who lose an average of more than two months in reading achievement in the summer, which slows their progress toward third grade reading proficiency – and exacerbates the achievement gap with their middle-class peers.
Funders, policymakers and community leaders can help schools and local organizations address summer learning loss by supporting strong programs engaging more children in summer learning opportunities. Transcending the punitive and remedial model of summer school, summer learning’s new form is a blend of core academic learning, hands-on activities, arts, sports, technology and meaningful relationships.
For more information on the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s efforts to reduce summer learning loss nationally, please visit gradelevelreading.net/our-work/summer-learning-loss.
The Campaign also recognizes the influence of health and parents on the success of these solution areas.
We know that learning begins at birth, and that healthy development greatly impacts children’s ability to learn: Children who are on track in their physical, social, emotional, cognitive and verbal development are more successful learners from their earliest years, and they are more likely to become proficient readers.
At every age and stage of development, children from low-income families often receive less, and lower-quality, health care and services. As a result, they experience poor health at higher rates than children from higher income families. For example, they have:
- Higher rates of developmental delays and disabilities related to learning, which affect their school readiness;
- Higher rates of asthma that affect their school attendance; and
- Fewer opportunities for high-quality nutrition especially during the summer. Since poor nutrition affects learning, such missed opportunities can contribute to summer learning loss.
These health disparities – differences in health that favor children from more advantaged families – are reflected in lower levels of reading proficiency for children from low-income families.
This infographic illustrates the health determinants of early school success. (Click to Enlarge)
For more information on the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s efforts to promote healthy development nationally, please visit gradelevelreading.net/our-work/healthyreaders.
Parents play the most powerful and influential role in their children’s lives. As their children’s first teacher, brain builder, tech navigator, advocate and coach, parents set the stage for success in the early years and early grades. Parents can best ready children for school, establish good school attendance habits and prevent summer learning loss. The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading recognizes that parents are the secret sauce!
Without parents, it is unlikely that we can make progress on the Campaign’s three community solutions areas – readiness, attendance, summer – or, ultimately, on third-grade reading. This is why a focus on supporting parents should be integrated across all of our work in Campaign communities across the country.
To assist communities, the Campaign has developed a framework that identifies nine essential competencies that communities can help parents strengthen in order to support their children’s school readiness, school attendance and summer learning. The competencies are supported by science, research and what the field is learning about the important responsibilities and roles parents play in helping their children succeed.
As a companion to the framework, the Campaign has produced three Supporting Parent Success Resource Guides, one for each Campaign community solutions area. The guides explain why the competencies matter; share proven and promising programs, tools and resources; highlight other inspiring community efforts; and offer ways to measure impact.