Reading proficiency by fourth grade is a critical milestone that indicates the quality of early childhood development and predicts future academic success. Up to third grade children learn to read, and after third grade children read to learn. Talk/Read/Succeed! (TRS) is a comprehensive education initiative designed to improve the number of children reading proficiently by fourth grade. TRS engages families and focuses on developing deep partnerships between families, schools and community programs to align strategies and support childrens literacy and learning. TRS is currently working with approximately 150 families at two Springfield Housing Authority developments. TRS is closely aligned with the Reading Success by Fourth Grade (RS4G) initiative of the Davis Foundation. RS4G is a citywide campaign launched in response to a status quo that is unacceptable: 64% of Springfields third graders scored below proficient on the 2009 Reading MCAS. RS4G began with a public awareness campaign highlighting the importance of early literacy. As the campaign gained momentum, a committee of representatives from schools, community-based organizations and families developed a blueprint of strategies that can be adopted across sectors to help reach the goal of reading proficiency for every child in Springfield.
The Talk/Read/Succeed vision is that all children living at Sullivan and Robinson Gardens will be reading at grade level by fourth grade. To ensure that children achieve this milestone, parents, schools and community programs will work together to develop an integrated system that produces school readiness and academic success.
TRS is working to deliver high-quality and relevant services and activities designed to strengthen the support of childrens language and literacy development. TRS will mobilize and engage families, schools and communities so that children receive the comprehensive support they need to grow and thrive in environments that are rich with literacy and learning opportunities.
TRS will use a family-school-community framework to organize its engagement with families living at two Springfield Housing Authority developments. Outreach to families will include information about the importance of parents as childrens first teachers, the impact of early literacy on lifelong achievement, opportunities to work closely with early education and kindergarten through third-grade educators, and strengthening their own skills through adult literacy and family economic stability resources. Families will have access to a wide-range of services including parental engagement, parenting education, child education, family financial stability, and personal skill development to assist parents in strengthening their own ability to be their child’s first teacher and most important advocate. The program collaborators include: Davis Foundation, Regional Employment Board of Hampden County, Inc., Springfield Education Association, the Springfield Housing Authority, Springfield Public Schools, United Way, and other community providers.
Increase the involvement and support of parents in their children’s early literacy skill development and early education.
Improve access for preschoolers to a high quality early education and a successful transition to Kindergarten.
Improve access to literacy-rich out of school time (afterschool and summer) programs.
Help families increase stability, progress toward economic self-sufficiency and improve physical and mental health.
Ensure that all parents, schools, community providers, and project partners collaborate to implement TRS.