“To increase economic growth and ensure the prosperity of all North Carolinians, we must cultivate a future workforce that is highly literate, knowledgeable, and skilled. This will only happen when we give each child a fair chance to fulfill his or her potential from the start," said James Maynard, Co-Founder and Chairman of Golden Corral Corporation, at a legislative breakfast on Grade-Level Reading held this week.
The event was hosted by the N.C. Early Childhood Foundation (NCECF) and BEST NC, a group of business leaders focused on improving state education. It was attended by more than 45 members of the NC General Assembly; representatives from the Governor’s Office, Department of Public Instruction and Superintendent’s staff; and leaders from early learning and education organizations.
The message of the morning was simple: getting children to read at grade level by third grade is critically important, but making sure children reach that stage starts at birth.
“Attention is focused on the achievement gap among school-aged students, but the gap is evident at nine months old,” said Tracy Zimmerman, executive director of NCECF.
The most rapid period of development in human life occurs during a child’s first 2,000 days. What happens during this critical window sets the foundation for all of the years that follow.
Early literacy is a crucial part of a child’s development. It enhances vocabulary, builds important communication skills, and gives them the tools they need to be successful in school and in life. Children who aren’t reading well by the end of third grade, are four times more likely to drop out of high school. In North Carolina, 31% of all fourth graders could not read at a basic level according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress 2013.
Along with our partners in early childhood across the state, like NCECF, we are working to improve outcomes for children by continuing to educate our legislators about the importance of early learning . Please click here to sign up for our advocacy e-alerts, get more involved in our legislative efforts, and find out how you can be a champion for young children in Durham!