Rhode Island KIDS COUNT - News, Research and Policy Information
May 18, 2010
Special Edition: Early Childhood Update

Early Warning! Why Early Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters

Today the Annie E. Casey Foundation released a national KIDS COUNT report, Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters. The report focuses attention on the critical importance of achieving grade-level reading proficiency for all children by the end of third grade.  "When kids are not reading by fourth grade, they almost certainly get on a glide path to poverty," said Ralph Smith, Executive Vice President of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. An Executive Summary also is available.

A key recommendation of the report is to develop a coherent system of early care and education that aligns, integrates, and coordinates what happens from birth through third grade, including:
  • content-rich, developmentally-appropriate curricula linked to standards and assessments; and
  • an aligned professional development system, and sufficient compensation, to ensure a well-trained, competent, and qualified workforce in the Birth to Grade Three field.
Report Highlights Child Care and Preschool Quality in Rhode Island
Boy and Girl Studying Factbook 2008
The Rhode Island Child Care Center and Preschool Quality Study indicates that 86% of classrooms serving preschool-age children (ages 3 to 5) and 74% of classrooms serving infants and toddlers (children ages birth to 3) provide "medium quality" care. According to the report, "medium" quality is generally characterized by a fundamentally safe environment with access to good quality materials, although activities and interactions could be more enriching and purposeful to support children's development and learning. 
The report by the FPG Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is based on classroom observations in 50 randomly selected preschool classrooms and 50 randomly selected infant/toddler classrooms in Rhode Island licensed child care centers and preschools.

Download the press release and the PowerPoint overview from the release event.

Financial Incentives for Programs Participating in BrightStars
Bright Stars Logo
BrightStars will award Quality Improvement Grants to the first 150 programs to receive a BrightStars rating. Programs will use these funds to make specific improvements based on the program's BrightStars assessment and quality improvement plan. Funds granted are based upon the providers' total DCYF licensed capacity, ranging from $750 to $2,500. Family child care and early learning centers are eligible to apply for a BrightStars quality assessment right now; licensed school-age programs will be able to apply for a BrightStars quality rating in early 2011.
This funding was made available to BrightStars by the Rhode Island Department of Human Services as part of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  Contact BrightStars at 401-398-7605 for more information.
Visit us at www.rikidscount.org
In This Issue
star Early Warning! Why Early Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters
star Report Highlights Child Care and Preschool Quality in RI
star Financial Incentives for Programs Participating in BrightStars
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Rhode Island KIDS COUNT works to improve the health, education, safety, economic security and development of Rhode Island's children.