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Americorps, Literacy Coaches Make a Difference for Young Children

In Travis County, only about 42% of children from low-income families enter Kindergarten ready to learn. Research also tells us that there is a large vocabulary gap at age four between children from low-income families and children from high-income families. These are striking statistics because children who start school behind, are more likely to stay behind, and many never catch up. They are also more likely to need special education services and by adulthood, many drop out of high school and become part of the juvenile justice system. In order to support language development and improve school readiness among children in our Center Project centers, Success By 6 brought six AmeriCorps members and five Classroom Coaches on board this past fall to provide literacy and math support in early learning centers throughout Austin. The cadre of educators spends between 10 and 40 hours per week working directly with low-income children, building oral language skills, providing engaging research-based math and literacy curriculum, and supporting social-emotional development. This work is done in large groups, small groups and sometimes one-on-one. The supplemental one-on-one and small group instruction is incredibly important as it provides children with individualized instruction that is appropriate for their skill level. After analyzing last year’s interventions, UWATX saw tremendously positive results from this focus on literacy and math development. During the seven-month intervention period, children in our program saw more than 17 months of growth in their receptive language development. Furthermore, nearly 90% of the children from low-income families were developmentally on-target in […]

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