Early Reading Matters

Early reading is a powerful driver of young people’s achievement in school and beyond. In fact, reading by the third grade is the most important predictor of high school graduation and career success.

Reading proficiency in early elementary remains unacceptably low for students living in underserved communities. Children in poverty hear 32 million fewer words by age four than children in high-income households, leaving them lagging behind their peers. Many urban students begin each school year without the skills and knowledge needed to complete grade-level work.

Shockingly, three out of four teachers in these schools are not sufficiently prepared in their education programs to address the reading challenges demonstrated by many of their students.

Early Reading Matters is our response to this crisis.

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Early Reading Matters: Three Year Model

Year 1

School principal chooses to work with Teaching Matters. One of our coaches works onsite to develop teacher competencies in teaching early reading. School level monitoring and assessment systems are refined.

Year 2

Develop high performing teachers to instruct peers on early reading competencies. Develop school leaders to effectively supervise early reading.

Year 3

Ensure schools reach mastery and are independently achieving goals of years 1 and 2. Partnership with Teaching Matters concludes.

Our Early Reading Matters Coaches:

  • Introduce new content and strategies
  • Collaborate to assess student progress and determine next steps
  • Demonstrate teacher “competencies” (the basis for effective literacy instruction)
  • Plan lessons and model effective instruction
  • Observe and give feedback
  • Identify teacher leaders and prepare them to work with their colleagues to make the work sustainable

Because of Early Reading Matters, schools promptly:

  • Improve the quality of books available to students
  • Allocate more reading time in classrooms
  • Increase small group reading work
  • Assess students more accurately and frequently
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Impacting Futures

First Grade

Change in % of students at their expected reading level beginning of year to the end of the year. 1,506 first grade students, 2016-17

Second Grade

Change in % of students at their expected reading level beginning of year to the end of the year. 1,528 second grade students, 2016-17

School-level indicators of success:

  • An increase from 20% to 67% of schools with an adequate supply of high quality, age-appropriate texts in all classrooms.
  • By the end of 2016-2017 school year all schools offered at least two weekly guided reading lessons to struggling readers, up from 47% offering none and 53% offering one at the year’s start
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Supporting the Future

Early Reading Matters currently reaches:

  • 640 teachers (approx 20 per school)
  • over 19,000 students (approx 30 children per class)
  • 32 schools

Early Reading Matters by 2021 will reach:

  • over 1,200 teachers (approx 20 per school)
  • over 37,000 students (approx 30 children per class)
  • 62 schools

Since its inception, Teaching Matters has raised close to $3,000,000 from individuals and foundations, and has delivered Early Reading Matters to 32 schools in the Bronx.

Every $2.50 of public funding is matched with $1.00 of private philanthropy.

This public-private partnership is essential to the effectiveness of Teaching Matters’ model. It ensures financial sustainability, school buy-in, and quadruples the impact of private investment.

Support Provided by:

  • The New York Community Trust Brooke Astor Fund for New York City Education
  • The Flom Family Foundation
  • The Guill Family Foundation
  • The Henry E. Niles Foundation
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Teaching Matters

Teaching Matters' mission is to develop and retain great teachers and measurably increase their ability to give students in urban public schools an excellent education; and we are committed to ensuring that every child, no matter zip code, has equitable access to great teaching.

Teaching Matters