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All children in North Carolina can discover the joy of reading at an early age and are supported in the home, school, and community to be lifelong readers.

Why Is This Important?

Children with low reading proficiency are more likely to drop out of high school, acquire low-paying jobs that limit access to health care, and have increased risks for numerous adverse health outcomes. 2022 NC SHIP, pg. 48

Story Behind the Curve

Dialogue from the 2022 NC SHIP Community Council Meeting and Symposia:

  • Reading scores have been declining for over a decade 
  • Young children do not receive enough instruction in phonics to become fluent readers
  • Fluency improves comprehension
  • Reading is taught in a vacuum without giving students an opportunity to learn reading in science and history
  • Home reading habits have deteriorated
  • Cuts in spending for education generally mean cuts to personnel

“In 2019, results on national and international exams showed stagnant or declining American performance in reading and widening gaps between high and low performers. The causes are multifaceted, but many experts point to a shortage of educators trained in phonics and phonemic awareness — the foundational skills of linking the sounds of spoken English to the letters that appear on the page. The pandemic has compounded those issues.” 2022 NC SHIP, pg. 49


Augustine Literacy Project (ALP)-Charlotte
Book Harvest NC
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
NC DHHS Early Childhood Action Plan
NC DHHS North Carolina Prekindergarten Program (NC Pre-K)
North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation- Pathways to Grade-Level Reading
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction- Migrant Education Program
North Carolina Early Learning Network (NC-ELN)
North Carolina Head Start State Collaboration Office (NCHSSCO)
Peletah Academic Center for Excellence (P.A.C.E.) Ministry
Reach Out and Read
Richmond County Public Schools – Child Find Campaign,an%20annual%20Child%20Find%20Campaign.
The NC Partnership for Children, Inc.- Smart Start

What Works

  • Expand access to NC Pre-K, 4-, and 5-star early learning programs and other high-quality early childhood programs, particularly for children who are homeless, in foster care, are from immigrant families, or who have disabilities or other special healthcare needs
  • Expand use of evidence-based literacy programs connected to health care (e.g., Reach Out and Read)
  • Improve the rigor and responsiveness of birth through third grade teacher and administrator preparation programs
  • Increase access to home visiting programs for young children
  • Increase funding to public schools and early learning programs that serve children with the highest barriers to success, including children from low-income families and people of color
  • Raise wages to attract, recruit, and retain highly qualified birth through third grade teachers

Description of Indicator Data

NC Department of Public Instruction

Additional Data Needed at Local Level

DHHS, in partnership with a diverse set of stakeholders, developed a standardized set of SDOH screening questions to address and acquire data on the following:

  • Food insecurity
  • Housing instability
  • Lack of transportation
  • Interpersonal violence


Clear Impact Suite is an easy-to-use, web-based software platform that helps your staff collaborate with external stakeholders and community partners by utilizing the combination of data collection, performance reporting, and program planning.

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