Early Literacy 2020 Plan

teacher and student reading

Developing Readers, Writers and Communicators

Early literacy — which DPS defines as reading, writing, speaking and listening — is essential to building a strong foundation for success in school and in life. Research shows that students who are reading and writing proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to graduate.

While we have implemented a range of early literacy strategies in the past, we need a more comprehensive, intensive and coordinated focus on early literacy districtwide to achieve the dramatic gains we need to make.

The Early Literacy Plan was designed to:

– Help us meet the Denver Plan 2020 goal of ensuring that 80% of our students are reading and writing proficiently by third grade.
– Close achievement gaps for our neediest and most disadvantage students
– Address the unique needs of our students who are English language learners.

We have a long way to go to meet our target – just 32% of our third graders met or exceeded expectations on the most recent PARCC English language arts assessment. Results for our students in poverty, and for our students who are black and Hispanic, were even further behind with just 19% proficient on this statewide exam.

Reading proficiency by third grade is an essential step toward high school graduation and career success – children who are reading proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to graduate.

early literacy priorities

Early Literacy Aimlines

State law (the READ Act) requires all kindergarten, first-, second- and third-graders be tested to ensure students are making progress toward reading on grade level by third grade. DPS students take these tests a minimum of three times – at the beginning, middle and end of the school year.

DPS uses a tool called Early Literacy Aimlines for 1st-3rd grade as one piece of a body of evidence to help educators and families tracking student progress toward CMAS proficiency by third grade. In 2019, Early Literacy Aimline scores will be included in the School Performance Framework.