Every Child Thrives partners recognize that 3rd grade reading proficiency is an important predictor of future success in learning and life. From 2015 - 2017, 3rd grade reading proficiency rates were declining in the Watertown Unified and Dodgeland School Districts. In 2017-18 only 31% of 3rd grade students were reading at grade level, with economically disadvantaged students achieving at an even lower rate. We are collectively committed to turning the curve upward.
Root causes identified for low 3rd grade reading proficiency rates include:
- Lack of social emotional skills needed for success in the classroom
- Limited targeted, individualized reading support
- Limited family engagement
The priority of the Every Child Thrive effort for the last few years has been to establish teams to study data, identify students in need of extra support, and determine appropriate interventions. Specific interventions to date include evidence-based Wisconsin Reading Corps tutoring and Bell Xcel programming, both which have boosted student reading proficiency rates of participants. We were pleased to see an increase in overall reading proficiency to 42% in 2018-19. Standardized assessments were not issued in 2019-20 due to Covid, and we expect that proficiency rates may go down in 2020-21.
In addition to targeted interventions, a strategic priority for Every Child Thrives is to support the social emotional development of all students, which will impact this outcome.