Five leadership practices that drive success in K-2 literacy
The following is a sponsored post by Amplify.
Third grade: It’s known as a make-or-break moment for reading. Students who aren’t proficient in reading before entering fourth grade are much more likely than their peers to struggle in school, and much more likely to drop out. That’s because fourth graders are ideally no longer learning to read — they’re “reading to learn.” So in order to make sure all students can learn everything they need to learn in their school years, it’s imperative that we provide K–2 students with the firmest possible foundation in literacy. It’s imperative — and it’s within reach. We’ve explored how a diverse set of schools, including high-need institutions, have achieved measurable, notable success in K–2 literacy.
Amplify’s experts identified a group of 11 schools where mCLASSⓇ assessment data showed exceptional growth in student literacy. These schools represented wide geographic and socio-economic diversity, including several with high rates of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch. These schools significantly raised the percentage of their students reading at grade level by the end of second grade. Specifically, kindergarteners tended to start with lower skill levels than average — but then improved to the point that, by the end of second grade, the percentage of students reading at or above grade level surpassed many other schools across the national mCLASS user base.
We visited these schools and analyzed which actions and practices — among district leaders, school leaders, teachers, and other school staff — contributed to this success. Our observation: Leaders in these schools identified literacy as a priority, but did not stop there. They put that priority into practice in their daily scheduling, deployment of teaching talent, leveraging of data, and engaging of students in their own success.
- Made early literacy priority number one, positioning it as fundamental to all other academics and ensuring teacher access to coaching and classroom support.
- Treated reading instruction time as sacred, scheduling literacy blocks first thing in the morning and helping teachers make the most of them.
- Empowered teachers to own and lead intervention, starting early for the swiftest results.
- Monitored processes and data closely, providing consistent checks and feedback.
- Shared granular data with students so they and teachers worked as a team to succeed.
Through this research, we see the results of strong, committed leadership and robust, comprehensive data helping educators drive significant progress for their students. Data also allows the sharing of best practices — as we do here — to help ensure that all students have access to the skill, power, and joy of reading. To see the full study, visit us here.