You are probably familiar with this old saying: if you don’t know where you’re headed, any path will take you there. Here at Best Beginnings, we have embarked on a three-year plan that definitely tells us where we are headed and lays out several paths to get us there!
From FY 2018-FY 2020, Best Beginnings will focus its work and resources on improving Alaska children’s communication, language, and literacy skills to contribute to kindergarten readiness. Our aim is that scores measuring awareness of print concepts and knowledge of letters and symbols will increase on the assessment given to all Alaska children entering kindergarten, the Alaska Developmental Profile.
Why is this our focus, and why now? Because the need is urgent!
See these results from last year:
- Only 28 percent of Alaska fourth-graders performed at or above the proficient level in reading on the assessment given by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
- Only 34.38 percent of Alaska third-graders performed at the advanced/proficient level in English Language Arts on the statewide Performance Evaluation for Alaska’s Schools (PEAKS).
- Only 43.8 percent of Alaska kindergartners demonstrated awareness of print concepts and only 45.5 percent demonstrated knowledge of letters and symbols on a consistent basis, according to the Alaska Developmental Profile.
(You can read more about these assessments here: https://education.alaska.gov/assessments)
What can we do to help ensure our children grow into happy, healthy, and productive citizens? We are taking these actions to improve early literacy in Alaska and change those results for the better:
- Increasing access to children’s books,
- Developing and sharing information and materials to education parents via multiple avenues to meet them where they are, and
- Utilizing partnerships to strengthen outreach.
In addition to continuing support for Imagination Library, one of the first steps in implementing Best Beginnings’ plan was to ask parents all around the state what information they wanted and needed to support their children’s development – and, perhaps even more important, how did they want to receive that information. Survey results are guiding our work as we move forward. For example, we’ve just launched a redesigned website with a primary focus on parents of young children.
Future e-newsletters will include reports on our progress!
Read more about Best Beginnings’ plan.