About Read On Arizona
Read On Arizona is a statewide, public/private partnership of agencies, philanthropic organizations, and community stakeholders committed to creating an effective continuum of services to improve language and literacy outcomes for Arizona’s children from birth through age eight over the next ten years. Read On Arizona is committed to helping create an early literacy system that delivers the right program at the right time for every child.
OUR VISIONARY COMMUNITY GOALS
Challenges and Solutions
Four key barriers prevent an effective regional response to Arizona's early literacy crisis. Read On Arizona’s 10-year strategic plan includes critical components to address these challenges:
|Challenges||Read On Arizona Solutions|
|1||Lack of awareness and attention given to early literacy. Arizona’s Move On When Reading retention policy spotlights the critical need to increase the depth of understanding around the importance of early literacy and grade level reading as a specific indicator that impacts the success of all learners.||Engagement and Action. Local, county, regional, and statewide leaders and the communities they represent must make early literacy a priority to ensure expanded access to quality literacy supports.|
|2||Lack of information on critical factors involving early literacy prevents the development of effective solutions. Community stakeholders have too little data on existing literacy gaps in the system.||Improve data integration and system linkages. Build on comprehensive baseline data and analysis to devise strategies for improvement. Create a data management and integration task force to focus on collaboration around shared data and accountability systems.|
|3||Lack of communication and coordination. Opportunities to leverage efforts and strengthen literacy impacts among providers, volunteers, and administrators working in Arizona’s schools, public libraries, faith-based organizations, and other nonprofits are missed.||Read On Network: Bring together innovations partnerships and develop pilot strategies that build a network of communities developing a literacy system focused on language-rich and engaging programs, ongoing screenings and assessments, professional development, and family supports.|
|4||Insufficient access to programs that work. Insufficient resources, as well as ineffective leveraging of resources, leads to lack of access to programs that work. Children do no enter kindergarten with the needed language and literacy skills necessary to succeed and are rarely able to catch up.||Create a continuum of effective practices tool. Convene experts in task force around strategic areas of focus. (ELL, curriculum and instruction, family engagement, professional development, etc.) Leverage existing resources to maximize impact and develop and strengthen literacy and language acquisition along the continuum.|
Arizona is facing a literacy crisis and it begins in early childhood.
Today the literacy skills demanded by 21st century work and learning environments are increasingly more complex. We are unsuccessfully preparing our children to meet that demand. In 2011, 42% of Arizona’s fourth graders fell below basic reading levels on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Many of the almost 800,000 Arizona children under age nine face significant barriers to school readiness, including poverty (23%), difficulty speaking and understanding English (48%), and lack of exposure to books and other literacy resources.
Success in addressing this crisis will require ensuring that young children in Arizona have strong learning experiences from birth through grade three, rich in literacy and language acquisition at school, at home, and in the community. The key to Arizona’s future is a statewide, community-based literacy project. Educators, families, businesses, public agencies, philanthropy and communities all have a role to play. Only when early literacy becomes everyone’s responsibility will we have the kind of impact and change we need to see Arizona thrive.