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Evidence-Based Early Literacy & Numeracy Programs

Literacy and math are gateways to all future learning.

It is essential that all students read at grade level by the end of grade 3 and are fully proficient in literacy by the time they finish elementary school if they are to be successful in middle school, high school, and beyond. 

Similarly, having a base foundation in numeracy by the end of grade 3 and a strong command of math by the end of elementary school is key to future success in all higher-level math courses and STEM programs. 

Teachers must be trained in the Science of Reading and best practices of math pedagogy. Evidence-based instructional materials—including early screening and ongoing diagnostic assessments—must be used in all classrooms. Additionally, evidence-based interventions and supports need to be provided early and often to students who are at risk. And finally, more time needs to be directly dedicated to literacy and numeracy for 4th- and 5th-grade students who did not meet the 3rd-grade benchmark and are still significantly behind, further exacerbated by learning loss due to the pandemic.

 

Why It Matters

The vast majority of students from California’s low-income communities are not meeting literacy and math standards in grade 3

69% of students from low-income communities did not meet literacy standards in grade 3, and 66% were still not achieving literacy standards by the end of grade 5

67% of students from low-income communities did not meet math standards in grade 3, and 79% were still not achieving math standards by the end of grade 5

This is unacceptable for a state with the 4th largest economy in the world. 

Overview of Policy Recommendations

  • Develop a comprehensive, aligned TK-3 instructional system in the areas of literacy and numeracy to ensure students are on grade level in both areas by the end of 3rd grade 
  • Adjust the instructional system in grades 4 and 5 to provide more time and focused instructional support in literacy and foundational numeracy and mathematics for students that are still below grade level in grades 4 and 5

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