“Decoding What Works” highlights elementary schools and early learning programs in Arizona that have made exceptional gains in literacy and the strategies behind their success.
The percentage of third graders passing Arizona’s annual English Language Arts assessment, which encompasses reading, language, and writing, had been increasing steadily prior to the pandemic. Scores rebounded in 2022 but remain below pre-pandemic levels, and chronic absence rates have spiked to unprecedented levels.
Read On Arizona examined relevant data to identify schools that have demonstrated significant improvement in reading outcomes. And because the learning that happens before children start kindergarten prepares them for reading success, we also examined early childhood formative assessment data, including language and literacy, from over 500 preschool and early learning programs. Statewide, the percentage of preschoolers meeting age-level expectations dipped from 2019 to 2022, but our review identified preschool sites showing growth in these important school readiness measures.
These Arizona sites and schools are shining examples of the fact that, with the right support and instruction, we can teach our children to read at grade level. And understanding what is working for them can serve as guidance and inspiration for other educators, schools, and districts to improve literacy outcomes for their students.