Creating effective readers means putting quality educators in front of kids in every setting: home, school, early childhood education, says Ralph Smith, senior vice president for the Anne E. Casey Foundation.
Smith, who manages the Grade Level Reading campaign, a national effort to get every student reading on grade level by third grade, spoke Friday morning before nearly 400 business and government leaders and educators at a daylong summit on reading and literacy at Boise State University.
“If we care about the issue, we have to focus on the early years and on the early grades,” Smith said.
Idaho also needs to look as at root causes for chronic absenteeism from school, Smith said.
In Boise, Meridian, Nampa, and Caldwell school districts about 4,500 students missed at least 10 percent of school last year.
“Kids who miss so much school fall further behind,” Smith said.
Is the cause sickness, poor oral health care, family instability, mobility, transportation, Smith asked.
“We need the information,” Smith said.
The State Department of Education does not keep track of chronic absenteeism. Idaho Business for Education, a group of 85 Idaho corporate leaders, is pushing for legislation that would require the state to gather those numbers so Idaho can get a handle on the problem.